I remember sitting on the doctor’s table, waiting to hear the results of my blood work. For the most part, everything checked out ok — except that I needed to exercise because my sugars were so high. The doctor said I had to get moving, not tomorrow or the next day, like right away so I didn’t die. Raising two young boys, I needed to be able to move around, and y’know…live! I remember the lack of energy I had, and I wanted to get that back into my life. I decided that day that I was going to make changes — and the hunt for health apps began.
I immediately nerded out over all the Couch to 5K apps and ended up picking Run 5K. This app helped me literally go from zero energy on the couch, to being able to run without stopping! I almost couldn’t believe it, but it’s very doable with the schedule that this app sets.
At the end of 9 weeks you will be able to run a 5K (3.1 miles) by following their plan of running and walking. At first you do a lot of walking, and as the weeks go on, you transition into a lot more running with a lot less running breaks. The app has great voice coaching, and even comes with a dark theme which can be tied to screen brightness.
It syncs with Apple Health and has a beautiful design to match. The best part about this app is that I followed the program and it actually worked.
- Free w/ $4.99 IAP to unlock all weeks – Download
While Run 5K has good stats, if you want a fun interface for your daily steps, Pedometer++ is it! This will track running or walking and allows you to create a daily step goal that you’d like to complete. David Smith is behind this app (and about 100 other apps on the App Store), and I really like supporting the work he does. When you reach your step goal, a bunch of green confetti rains down on the screen, which is one of the best feelings in the world.
I remember listening to David on his podcast Developing Perspective and he talked about one of his kids giving him an idea about what happens if you double your step goal for the day. I’ll let you check out the app and be surprised when you do.
- Free – Download
Please use the tip jar in-app to help a great indie dev!
After I was done using Run 5K, I wanted a running program that could track my runs. I had a few requirements, such as I wanted it to track indoor and outdoor runs, and I needed it to be able to use my iPhone 6 Plus’ internal components to track me, as I still hadn’t purchased an Apple Watch or other fitness band at that point.
Nike+ Running is free, has a lot of great features, and some gamification thrown in. You can do timed runs, runs set by miles you’d like to accomplish, speed you’d like to meet, and even participate in challenges with your friends. You can get Nike Fuel, and particular to this app, get miles which will change the color of your interface. Speaking of that, has anyone actually met the 9,320 Volt goal yet?
With running programs, coaches, and a great design, Nike+ Running is a no brainer.
- Free – Download
After running the 10K (I got through the whole thing!), I still wasn’t feeling 100%. After doing a bunch of reading, most health experts say that exercise couldn’t be the only thing that contributed to weight loss and well being. It turns out that getting your diet in shape as well plays a huge role in your weight loss and overall health goals.
Recommended by Federico Viticci, I tried Lifesum. Lifesum allows you to track your meals throughout the day, and also includes a handy log of your water intake built right in. After setting health goals, Lifesum shows you how many calories are left in the day for the type of diet you choose. It also shows you helpful information like the carbs, protein, and fat content of what you consume. One of the newer updates even includes healthy recipes geared towards the diet you choose, and they look delicious.
If you’re looking for a food tracker that’s easy to use and makes meal entry lightning quick, then Lifesum is a perfect fit.
- Free with subscription options – Download
Putting it all together
The apps above were a huge help in getting my health kick going and staying strong. Along with those apps, I used a combination of Apple Health, multiple recipe apps and even Paprika (which I mentioned on episode 1 of the App Factor podcast), which helped me store recipes for later use. I also used the Active Rhino adjustable running belt to keep my phone, keys and other small belongings in tow with me on my runs.
Getting healthy is a long road, and for many of us that road will never end, but technology can truly help us achieve our short and long term health goals.
What apps are you using to get healthy? Let me know in the comments.