In this day and age, it is a rarity not to have your smartphone within fingertips’ reach. Between all of our iMessaging, WhatsApp-ing and Instagram-ing, it’s hard to make time to keep up to speed with the signals your body is sending. Luckily, there are some amazing health apps in the Apple App Store to help make sure your body and mind are in tip-top shape.
Image: Instagram @karliekloss
Who knew that keeping close tabs on your body’s health was within the reach of a button? Here, our favourite apps for anything health-related.
1. SLEEP CYCLE
Waking up in the morning is difficult – we can all attest to that. But did you know that a matter of 15 minutes could make it just a little easier? Sleep Cycle is an app that tracks your slumber pattern through movement and breathing to wake you up at the moment when you are at your lightest sleep. Just set an interval of 15 minutes or so, and you will be awoken at the right time for your body with one of the many calming alarm sounds the app offers. The app also records data so you can see charts and statistics about your sleeping patterns so you can track the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night.
If you’re an iPhone user, the native Bedtime feature is also a winner – you set your ideal time to go to bed and wake up, and it gently reminds you when it’s time to hit the sack to help enforce a healthy sleep hygiene routine. We also recommend making the most of their Screen Time tool, to reduce disruptive blue light exposure before bed – you can programme it to encourage you to put down your phone at a certain time in the evening to help optimise your sleep quality.
2. SMILING MIND
Feel as though you never have time to breathe within your busy schedule? Smiling Mind is an app dedicated to simple meditation exercises to help you take a moment and reflect on your thoughts and emotions during the week. To start a program, you just answer questions about the way you are feeling at that particular moment and the app will create a custom exercise to help calm you and whatever you might be feeling that day.
Of all the calorie tracking apps, My Fitness Pal is a clear front-runner. The app has thousands of users, meaning that the food library is stocked high so you can find the nutrition facts of practically any food you want, and it even allows you to scan barcodes of packaged foods, which will keep you aware of what you are putting into your body. The app can also connect to a variety of external step-counters so you can integrate your fitness and diet into one app, allowing you to track your goals and share your accomplishments with others to keep you accountable.
As strange as it may sound, Clue is the best period-tracking app we’ve found. By entering information on the time of your period, the flow, your pain, mood, and sexual activity, the app can help you learn when you are ovulating in case you want to get pregnant, don’t want to get pregnant, or just want to understand those awful mood swings that seem to arise out of nowhere.
Save the world and simultaneously shed the kilos. Zombies, Run! is an exciting audio adventure and fitness app that lets users escape from their usual jogging track into interactive story missions where you are star of your own video game. In the forty minute episodes, you play the hero, and collect virtual supplies to build your home base whilst fleeing from the growls and groans of the undead. The app also allows you to integrate your own workout playlists so you can bolt with Beyonce on your side – because ‘You’re a Survivor’, quite literally.
An app highly acclaimed by Miranda Kerr, Chem-eleon acts as an encyclopaedia for all those ingredients we don’t know how to pronounce in our food or other daily products. Search for an ingredient and read up on what’s in it, what it does, whether it is harmful or helpful, and even if it’s banned in any places. This app is perfect for grocery shopping so you can know exactly what you are getting before you dish out the cash for something.
Another Miranda Kerr favourite, ABC Vegie Guide acts as a great tool for Australia’s beginner vegetable gardeners. This app is perfect if you’ve been itching to test out your green thumb by planting your own homegrown vegetables. The Vegie Guide will tell you what vegetables are in season and will grow the best in your particular climate. You can even track the growth of your personal garden and learn the warning signs of diseases and pests that might try to get in your way.
The Nike+ Run Club has been motivating us to quit the couch and hit the pavement for years now, thanks to its suite of guided runs with pro athletes, and useful run tracking metrics, so you can see your fitness levels soar with cold, hard data. We’re particuarly into the Apple Watch version, which offers all the goodness of its iPhone counterpart but allows you to go running without carting along your phone with you (yes please).
Try as we might, motivation to stick to good habits tends to wane, which is why this clever app comes in handy. It makes running streaks of everyday you commit to your resolution – whether it’s getting in 10,000 steps a day, skipping meat or sugar, or practising a skill – which is a surefire method to ensure you continue for fear of breaking your hard-earned streak. Trust us, it’s addictive.
They’re famed for their cult favourite sunscreen, and now La Roche-Posay are extending their expertise in sun protection into the app world. Their app pairs with a portable device and analyses your environment to flag skin-harming environmental aggressors, from high levels of pollution to dangerous UV ratings, and provides a custom skincare routine based on the data. Perfect for encouraging you to apply sunscreen every single day of the year (yes, even when it’s cloudy).
Story by Sammi Keys, Amanda Chan and Tess Schlink