By: Beth Kelly

Health and Fitness Apps Put Health in Your Hands

There are many smartphone apps on the market today designed to help you become a stronger, healthier version of yourself. Use of health and fitness apps is booming in 2014. These apps can do it all: from managing your exercise schedule and doctor’s appointments to providing information about nutritious foods and lulling you to restful, satisfying sleep. Here are five convenient phone apps that make getting fit a breeze:

1.) MyFitnessPal: A comprehensive health and fitness app, MyFitnessPal uses powerful, personalized tools to track your daily calorie intake and exercise. This app contains the largest food database of any iOS calorie counter (over 3,000,000 foods), and also allows users to scan barcodes for quick food logging. Users can also enter their own recipes and calculate their nutritional content. This app is among the most popular of its kind, for its array of functions, smooth interface, and overall ease of use.

2.) Fooducate: This app strives to look beyond the calorie and help users learn the true nutritive value of the food they’re consuming. Take your phone to the grocery store and use the app to scan barcodes of food products, and instantly see just how healthy they really are. The app will load the product’s nutrition information, and then provide a letter grade (A, B, C, and D). When you’re in a rush to prepare dinner, says, “Fooducate is a handy tool to help you make informed choices, better understand the ingredients in your foods, and encourage you to choose healthier options.”

3.) GymPact (or simply “Pact”): Created by a pair of Harvard students, GymPact is based on the premise that people are more motivated by not losing their money than they are by earning it. GymPact asks its users to make two commitments: 1) set a number of gym visits for the upcoming week and 2) agree to an amount they will pay (between $5 and $50) for every number of visits they choose to skip. At the end of each week, those who succeeded in attending each gym session are rewarded in funds paid out by those who failed. The app has recently relaunched with new and improved “diet” features, to ensure users combine both fitness and nutrition into their daily regime.

4.) Apple’s “Health”: With a release date set for this fall, Apple’s newest innovation aims to track, record, and analyze your fitness level through a new app simply called “Health.” It will show data from third-party devices and other apps all in one place, working with companies like Nike to bring all your health information easily into view. It will also be possible to share your health data with other apps as well as physicians through a platform called “Healthkit.” Healthkit, particularly since it can work alongside the custom apps that many clinics and hospitals are developing on their own, ought to catch on quickly with both medical practitioners and patients. cites the Cleveland Clinic’s comprehensive iPad app as an example that “combines the considerations of both busy doctors and busy patients and finds a solution that both can agree on.”

Our phones take pictures, shoot videos, play music, and run countless other apps that help make our lives more convenient. But with the development of many new nutrition and fitness apps, our phones are helping us run faster, eat smarter, and get stronger, too. Download one today and begin your own journey to better health!