Admit it, your smartphone is sometimes the very thing that keeps you from living a healthier, more balanced life. There’s always one more work email that keeps you from the gym or a friend who calls and convinces you to go for drinks instead of eating that quinoa salad at home.
But, it can also help you out, too. Whether you’re a fitness freak or someone who needs a little kick in the lululemons, these health and fitness apps can help get you moving, monitoring, and sharing that new healthy lifestyle once and for all.
1. Couch to 5k
If it’s motivation you need, Couch to 5k is the app for you. It’s like having a personal trainer—but at a bargain price ($2.99 for Android or iPhone ). Incredibly simple and effective, this app gives you a series of manageable walk-jogs that build up to get you running in no time flat. Optional voice-guided intervals instruct you to alternate between jogging and walking, and they’ll gradually become more challenging as you build endurance. Nine weeks later—presto. You can run 3.1 miles without collapsing (or whining). This app also tracks your workout dates and syncs with your playlists.
2. Pocket Yoga
If posing is more your thing, Pocket Yoga ($2.99 for Android and iPhone ) lets you take your yoga guru with you wherever you go. Offering guided routines you can do anywhere you can stretch out your mat, this app will guide you through a rigorous Gaia Flow yoga session focused on stamina, power, or flexibility (there are 27 combinations total). The app comes with accompanying soothing music, but if you don’t like it, you can use your own library instead!
3. Gorilla Workout
If you’re full of excuses and there’s never enough time to get to the gym, Gorilla Workout ( iPhone only, $1.99) is your new BFF. This app gives you quick workouts that can be done anytime, anywhere, no equipment needed. Each workout contains four exercises (with video demos) that are specifically customized to your ability. Before you know it, you’ll be in six-pack abs heaven.
Eat with Awareness
Whether you have a particular weight loss goal or you just like to track your daily intake and burn, MyFitnessPal (free for Android and iPhone ) offers an easy-to-use calorie counter and fitness tracker. Track your meals by using your phone to scan barcodes at the grocery store or navigating the list of over 1 million foods to estimate your calorie intake. Then, log your cardio and strength-training activity for daily burn. If you’re trying to lose weight, the app can track your progress and tell you how long it will take you to achieve your goals. Need extra motivation? You can even set and share goals with your friends.
Triscuits or Wheat Thins? You can stop trying to decode nutrition labels— Fooducate (free for Android and iPhone ) tells you which foods get the better grade. Just scan the bar code of any packaged good while shopping and get instant info and advice. You can compare your favorite breakfast cereals by letter grade, find healthful alternatives to transfat-loaded cookies, and scan nutritional red flags quickly to make smarter meal choices.
Get Good Advice
For everything from workout injuries to flu-like symptoms, WebMD (free for Android and iPhone ) is like having an advice nurse in your pocket. This app allows you to enter your symptoms, and then returns possible causes, conditions, and suggested treatments. If you need human intervention, find the closest physician, pharmacist, or hospital easily using GPS. This app also features an extensive drug, supplement, and vitamin database (including side-effect and interaction warning info), plus a handy pill identification tool.
7. White Noise
We all know sleep is the cure-all for what ails us. White Noise ($1.99 for Android and iPhone ) provides soothing, high-quality ambient sounds to lull us to la-la land. Whether you prefer waves on the beach, a whirring fan, or the patter of rain, this app makes getting those recommended zzz’s as simple as touching a button.
Feature photo courtesy of Yutaka Tsutano .