By Dr. Mercola
Technology can be your friend and ally in helping you reach your health and fitness goals, especially with the development of increasingly comprehensive and intuitive apps.
More than 30 percent of mobile device owners use fitness apps,1 and usage of such apps increased significantly – by 62 percent – in the first half of 2014.2 The industry is growing fast and really is set to explode.
There are already an estimated 100,000 apps for health available, making up a $4-billion market. That is slated to increase to $26 billion by 2017.3 Of course, your phone or tablet only has so much storage space, and you only have so much time not only to use health and fitness apps but also to sort through them.
Greatist has tested hundreds of health and fitness apps for you, and their conclusions of the best health and fitness apps are below.
If you're looking for a tool to help you reach the next level in your fitness routine, diet, productivity and more, check out the list below. There's an app that will appeal to virtually everyone.
Top Fitness Apps
1. FitStar Personal Trainer (Free)
Created by former NFL player Tony Gonzalez, FitStar gives you tailored workouts to help you get in shape, even if you don't have a lot of space, fancy equipment, or a ton of free time. Appropriate for beginner to advanced levels, you'll be asked a set of questions at the end of each workout to help assess your needs. This app also comes in a yoga version.
2. Nike+ Training Club (Free)
With over 100 workouts developed by Nike master trainers, there's a workout for every fitness level and goal (such as get toned, get strong, get lean, or get focused). Each workout comes with a video tutorial, making your workout plan easy to follow.
3. Runtastic Six-Pack Abs (Free)
This app bills itself as a "personal six-pack trainer in your pocket. Anytime. Anywhere." Specially designed to build your core strength and achieve a defined stomach, this app has more than 50 workout videos, tips of the day, customizable training plans, and even music mixes to match your workout and mood.
4. Fitnet (Free)
Fitnet has a host of workout videos from personal trainers, but what makes it unique is its ability to measure how well you're keeping up with the workouts. With Fitnet, your device's webcam analyzes your synchronicity with the trainer and provides real-time feedback on your performance.
5. WOD Deck of Cards (Free)
WOD (or Workout of the Day) allows you to choose four exercises to focus on (one for each suit in a deck of cards). Then, you keep drawing cards until you finish the deck.
6. Sworkit (Free)
This app provides randomized circuit training workouts that you can do anywhere. You choose the length of your workout and the area of your body you want to focus on (such as upper body, core, cardio, full body, or stretching), and Sworkit designs a customized routine instantly.
7. StrongLifts 5x5 (Free)
StrongLifts helps you get stronger, build muscle, and burn fat by completing three lifting exercises with five sets of five reps. The app helps you know when it's time to take a break and when to add more weight. Use the app three times a week for best results.
8. Pump Up (Free)
Build custom workouts, track your activity, and share photos of your progress using Pump Up. As Greatist put it:
"It's Instagram meets Facebook for the health and fitness set. The social platform is the perfect place to post progress photos and motivate other like-minded people to meet their fitness goals."
9. Fitmo (Subscriptions starting from $40/month)
Fitmo allows you to access the expertise of a personal trainer from your smartphone or tablet. For $40 a month, your personal trainer will set up a fitness schedule, give you meal ideas, and check in via text messages and video calls.
10. Spring (Free)
Spring is a rhythm-based music service for exercise. It creates a customizable playlist with songs in an appropriate range of beats per minute, then, you simply walk or run to the beat.
11. Zombies, Run! 3 ($3.99)
If your workouts are lacking in fun get this app, which mixes Zombie games and stories in with your runs. Instead of your normal jog, you'll be completing missions to gather supplies, save humans, and outrun enemies in this zombie-laden world.
12. C25K (Free)
Thinking of running a 5K, or just want to be fit enough to do so? This app gives you an eight-week training plan with just three half-hour workouts every week, making getting in shape for a 5K doable for virtually anyone.
13. Charity Miles (Free)
As you take more steps throughout your day, you can help your favorite charities in need. Charity Miles donates 10 cents for every mile biked and 25 cents for every mile walked or ran.
14. CARROTfit ($2.99)
This app is filled with challenging 7-minute bodyweight workouts, but what makes it worth trying is the virtual trainer's attitude – full of humor, sarcasm, and sass.
15. MINDBODY Connect (Free)
Discover and connect with different fitness classes in your area, such as yoga, Zumba, and more) using MindBody Connect. The app lets you sign up and pay for classes in seconds.
Top Tracking and Analytics Apps
16. Argus (Free)
Argus lets you quantify your day-to-day life by keeping track of your steps, calories, meals, hours of sleep, heart rate, and more, then inputting your data into colorful charts to help you spot trends and areas that need improvement.
17. MapMyFitness (Free)
This combination of websites and apps allows you to track your outdoor activities, nutrition, fitness, and more, as well as get real-time info on weather, safer routes, traffic, and more that might impact your workouts. You can also compare your progress with that of friends and local fitness clubs.
18. Endomondo (Free)
This app is like having your very own personal trainer available at your fingertips. Along with the "usual" ability to track your heart rate, calories, speed, and distance during a workout, a built in GPS tracks your route on a map. Plus, when you enter your goals, an audio coach will give you feedback while you exercising to keep you motivated, and you can also share your workouts with friends and even track the workouts of your friends in real time.
Track your runs or rides by time, distance, and speed, then connect with a community of fellow runners or cyclers to see who can climb to the highest elevation or post the best photos mid-ride.
Top Food and Nutrition Apps
20. Noom Coach (Free)
Noom's extensive food database with local foods, packaged items, and restaurant meals makes it easy for you to track your calories and portion sizes to eat healthier and lose weight. Log your meals in seconds and connect with others who are also trying to lose weight and eat healthier.
21. Allergy FT ($2.99)
If you have food allergies and are planning to travel, Allergy FT (for "Food Translator") will be invaluable. It allows you to create a profile with your allergies and then translate those allergies into the local language where you'll be visiting.
If you'll be eating out, add your location, dietary restrictions, and food preferences into this app to find a list of restaurants to choose from, along with recommendations of the healthiest foods on the menu.
23. Rise ($20/week)
If you want to be held accountable for your meals, Rise will pair you with a nutrition coach who will critique every meal and snack you eat. You snap photos of the foods you're eating, then receive suggestions to make them healthier.
24. ShopWell (Free)
First, you input some information about yourself, your health goals, and ingredients you want to avoid. Then, you scan barcodes at your grocery store while you're shopping for food. ShopWell will score each food helping you make smarter choices.
25. Ingredient1 (Free)
If you're in a food rut and looking to branch out to new ingredients, Ingredient1 lets you input information about diet, food allergies, taste preferences, and certifications (organic, grass-fed, GMO-free), then gives you a list of recommended foods. You can even put together a grocery list and find foods according to what you're craving.
26. OpenTable (Free)
Looking to have a nice dinner out? OpenTable lets you search nearby restaurants and make reservations in seconds.
27. Amount ($0.99)
Quickly convert everything from currency and clothing sizes to measurements needed for cooking.
28. Mixology (Free)
For the occasional alcoholic beverage, Mixology lets you input what ingredients you have on hand and create a drink to match. It also has a section to help you create refreshing non-alcoholic beverages.
29. Kitchen Stories (Free)
Cooking from scratch is key to staying healthy, and this app contains dozens of recipes to make homemade meals. Each recipe has step-by-step instructions and even videos for harder techniques.
Top Mind and Brain Apps
30. Duolingo (Free)
Learn a new language in quick, bite-size lessons you can learn even while you're on the go. Each lesson helps with reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills so you'll be on the fast-track to becoming bilingual.
31. Coach.me ($14.99)
Enlist an expert to help you achieve your goals. Your personalized expert guidance will help you establish a plan of action, check your progress, motivate you, and help you overcome hurdles so you can finally reach your goals.
32. Calm ($9.99/month)
Calm provides daily guided meditations to help you release anxiety, build compassion, feel more confident, and more.
33. Talkspace ($25/week)
Talkspace makes therapy more affordable by connecting you with a licensed therapist for unlimited messaging for $25 a week. Whenever you need to talk through an issue, you can give your therapist a quick text – no need to wait until the "next session." There's even a couples therapy option.
34. Headspace ($12.95/month)
Described as "meditation made simple" and a "gym membership for the mind," Headspace guides you through 10-minute daily meditations to help you become more mindful.
35. Yoga Studio ($3.99)
With 24 hours of yoga classes at your fingertips, you'll be ready to practice yoga virtually anywhere. This app even lets you create your own class by choosing from certain poses you're trying to master.
36. Lumosity (Free)
Take 15 minutes three times a week to improve your memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Lumosity uses specially designed brain games to provide exercise for your mind.
Top Overall Health Apps
37. Sleep Cycle ($0.99)
Sleep Cycle uses your phone's accelerometer to measure movement in bed and pinpoint REM cycles in your sleep. Set the time you want to wake up, and Sleep Cycle will gently awaken you during a 30-minute window, while you're in your lightest sleep.
38. Sleep Bug (Free)
This turns your phone or tablet into a white-noise machine. Choose from beach, zen garden, classical, jungle, and more, and add sounds (like birds or waves at the beach) as you see fit.
39. Glow (Free)
Glow helps women carefully track their menstrual cycle, including ovulation, mood, symptoms, and more. Glow can help whether you're trying to conceive or avoid pregnancy, and there's also Glow Nurture to track your pregnancy.
40. HealthTap (Free)
With HealthTap, you can text specific questions about healthy living and get a response back from a doctor. If you have in-depth issues you want covered, you can upgrade to a prime membership ($99/month) and even receive treatment plans from a doctor via your phone.
41. iTriage (Free)
When health symptoms hit in the middle of the night, pull up this app and answer a series of questions. iTriage was developed by two ER doctors and will suggest possible reasons for your symptoms as well as give you a plan of action.
42. Vida ($15/week)
Vida is a comprehensive app to help you reach your health goals, from losing weight to reducing stress or managing diabetes. You select your goals and the type of coach you prefer (such as drill sergeant or cheerleader), and then you communicate via text and video chat. This app also syncs up with Apple's Health Kit, so you can track your steps taken, hours slept, and more.
43. Twilight (Free)
Exposure to blue light from your phone at night can throw off your sleep cycle. Twilight gradually removes the blue light from your phone when the sun starts to set.
Top Productivity Apps
44. Sunrise (Free)
Integrate all of your calendars into one spot so you can easily keep track of appointments and schedules. You can even connect Sunrise to Evernote tasks, Eventbrite, and Songkick to keep track of tickets you've purchased and more.
45. IF by IFTTT (Free)
Free up some valuable free time by enlisting a computer to do some of your menial tasks. You set up "recipes" using the "If this, then that" formula, and it will automatically take care of the rest. For instance, "If I'm tagged in a photo on Facebook, save it to my Dropbox."
46. Evernote (Free)
Evernote can collect all your random thoughts for you, helping you to make lists, set reminders, take photos, and write notes. The app syncs to your desktop so you will have access to your notes on all your electronic media, including phone, tablet, and computer. I love this app.
47. Pocket (Free)
Pocket is another of my absolute favorite apps. It allows you to save any story you see pop up on your newsfeed and read it later on (even if you're not connected to the Internet). I use it virtually every day to capture videos on my desktop, and then view them on my iPad while working out or preparing my lunch. Very convenient.
48. Google Keep (Free)
The next time you have a random idea or inspiration, use Google Keep to "file" it for later. This app is perfect for taking notes and making to-do lists. You can even record your notes by voice.
Put Your Phone into Airplane Mode When Using Apps
The Internet is being progressively relegated to a background infrastructure that allows people to access data through apps with an elegant user interface. This is shockingly remarkable when you consider that mobile apps have only been around for several years, but it's also indicative of a technology that's likely here to stay.
That being said, exposure to radiation from cell phones and Wi-Fi has been found to alter your brain, contribute to tumor development, and cause numerous other health problems, and for this reason I suggest you limit your use of these devices, especially when it involves holding the device near your head or storing it near any other bodily area.
You can still take advantage of health and fitness apps safely, however, by switching your phone into airplane mode during use. This will minimize any wireless EMF exposure, and you can still access the amazing computer power and convenience of mobile apps.