Using your phone in a healthy way: Apps to help your health

Lifespan Blog Team

We often hear about how addicted we are to our devices, and how the constant exposure to screens is unhealthy. While this could prove to be true, cell phones that are already constantly within arm’s reach could prove to be beneficial in other ways. Keeping track of your physical and mental health is an ongoing effort, but with the help of some health-conscious apps, you can conveniently stay connected to your body at the touch of a button.

Water logging apps

The 8x8 rule refers to the amount of water that doctors recommend we drink each day. The rule is easy to remember, but following it can be more challenging. Water logging apps help you keep track of how many ounces of water you’re drinking throughout the day. While 64 ounces is recommended, water intake goals can differ based on gender and weight. You can adjust the goal amount within the app if necessary. Many apps allow you to input other drinks as well, such as coffee, tea, and sports drinks, so you can track the amount of fluids you ingest. 

Top free* water apps: Waterlogged, Daily Water, My Water Balance**

Sleep cycle apps

While some sleep cycle apps require a wearable device such as an Apple watch, many apps simply ask that you set your phone on your mattress in order for it to work its magic. These apps provide metrics that give you a snapshot of your sleep quality. Some apps allow you to input different activities you engaged in throughout the day, so it can determine the kinds of behaviors that impact your sleep (i.e. exercise, caffeine, alcohol, stress).  Many apps pinpoint your lightest sleeping pattern and will set off your morning alarm at the optimal sleep cycle, within the 30-minute time frame that you choose. Some also offer white noise sounds for those who prefer some noise during the night.

Top free sleep apps: Pillow, Sleep Better, Sleep Time

Pedometers

Most people only take about 1,000-3,000 steps per day, while the recommended daily amount is closer to 10,000. This goal is difficult to achieve on its own, but pedometer apps can help you increase your steps. You can set goals, sync with your wearable devices or other health apps, and be reminded when you need to take more steps. Pedometers will track almost any type of activity, such as running, cycling, or walking.

Top free pedometers: Stepz, Walker, Pacer

Meditation apps

Mindfulness is an important part of health and meditation apps provide a variety of ways to unwind and relieve stress whenever you’d like.  These apps will prompt you to meditate daily and offer different types of guided meditation based on your needs. Meditation improves focus and relieves stress.

Top free meditation apps: Headspace, Calm, Aura

Habit apps

Everyone has a bad habit they’d like to break or a healthy habit they would like to adopt. Habit tracking apps are a unique way to set and achieve a goal that you otherwise might not have followed so closely. These apps can help you track progress for the healthy habits you want to start, and break unhealthy habits through reminders, discussion forums and day streaks.

Top free habit apps: Habit-Bull, Done, Productive

Nutrition tracking/exercise apps

There are many apps available that help you track your diet and weight loss goals. You can set calorie intake goals to align with your weight loss plan, sync with other apps or devices that track exercise, and scan barcodes on food packaging to learn the nutritional value of your items.  Exercise apps include running, walking and cycling apps; yoga apps; and even strength training.

Top free nutrition apps: MyFitnessPal, Yazio, Lose it!

Exercise: Sworkit, FitStar Yoga, Map My Run*

Each of these healthy habits becomes more easily attainable when you have a way to monitor them through a device that you already carry around at all times. “Healthy” may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of smartphones, but you can combat screen time with the healthy lifestyle you create with the help of these apps.

*While downloading and basic features are free, some apps require a subscription to access premium features.

**Lifespan does not endorse any of the apps mentioned above.

Weekly Poll

What is your favorite thing about fall?