We're fond of apps, gadgets and all things tech in Lovin Dublin. So when it comes to our health we're no different and like to use some nifty apps to keep track of our health, what we're eating and to encourage us to get off our arses and stretch our legs every so often. We've rounded up our favourite health apps at the moment below that don't require any pricey wristbands or equipment.
This is one of the apps I use the most, it's just great for keeping track of your running, to work up towards goals and to send you little reminders to get off the couch and go for a run. It's a free app but you can also upgrade to a premium account for €8.99 a month for smarter goal setting, premium training plans and deeper insights. I'm tempted to upgrade but the free app is still really good and gives you all the basic information that you need. I love Runkeeper when I'm running frequently and it tells me I'm running faster or further than before, I hate it when notifications pop up telling me I haven't run in 7 days while I'm sitting down watching Bake Off with a cup of tea and a brownie.
My Fitness Pal
This one I have a love hate relationship with as it's a calorie counter app. I'm usually not one for counting calories as I think people can get a little bit obsessive with it and it can take the enjoyment out of a meal out. However, when you're after falling off the wagon it's a good one to use for a week or two. I think for people totally new to dieting it might be worth doing for a few weeks to get an idea of what's actually in the foods you're eating and encourages people to be a little more careful with portion sizes when they see how many calories they're actually eating. It also breaks down foods into carbs, fats and protein so you can see if you're lacking, meeting or exceeding your RDAs. The only thing I'd say is when you're entering foods like, for example, porridge, enter the ingredients separately like 'oats', 'milk', 'banana', 'seeds' rather than just searching 'porridge' as of course everyone makes theirs with different ingredients and quantities. At the end of each day when you fill in all your meals and complete your entry it tells you fun little facts. If I have been super healthily for the day it might tell me "if every day was like today you will weigh 5 pounds less in a month", in which case I feel like a smug, skinny little fox. Other days however when my snacks include chocolate, bread and more chocolate I'm told I'll be 5 pounds heavier in a week if I keep eating this way. This usually makes me resort to eating more chocolate to console myself. Ah, the complexities of being a woman.
I was only just introduced to this yesterday and love it already so have added it to the list. I was looking for a pedometer as I get worried all the sitting in front of a laptop will give me a pancake arse so thought tracking my steps would be good to get me up and moving more often. Withings is so much more than a pedometer app, it's an overall health app. You can connect both your My Fitness Pal and Runkeeper apps to it so that it gives you a really good overall picture of your health. It even monitors your heart rate by you putting your finger over the phone's camera, I couldn't believe it! You can share all the data with your doctor or nutritionalist too if you're on a special plan. I just think it's brilliant.
My Sleep Cycle
Do you snooze your alarm 10 times before crawling bleary eyed from bed looking like Worzel Gummidge, racing through the morning trying to catch up on lost time to make it into work by 9am? If so then you should probably check this out. This 89c app has an alarm that wakes you up on your lightest sleep cycle so that it's easier for you to spring out of bed. You basically pick a half hour window that you want to wake up within, for example 6.45am - 7.15am, place your phone under your pillow which monitors your sleep throughout the night and then in the morning it picks your lightest sleep cycle within that 30 minute window to wake you, rather than your usually alarm going off potentially during a time of deep sleep. It also monitors your night's sleep and tells you how long you have slept for and the quality of your sleep.
Green Kitchen Stories
I love this, it's the app version of the award winning vegetarian food blog run by a couple, a Swede and a Dane, who together whip up the most healthy recipes around. It costs around a fiver but it's essentially a full cookbook of healthy recipes so I think it's well worth it. These plant based recipes may sounds a bit alternative but honestly I have never made anything from this that hasn't been really delicious and made me feel great afterwards too. Even looking at the mouth watering pictures would be enough to inspire you to try and eat a few more veggies! Apparently health starts in the kitchen, so it's worth making an effort with what you're cooking. If you couldn't be bothered paying for the app then why not check out their website instead where you can get a tonne of their recipes for free.
They're our top picks at the moment but if you have any apps that you swear by then let us know in the comment below so we can try them out ourselves.