Nutri-Fitness: There's an App for That!
Posted: April 17, 2012
I replied to my co-worker’s suggestion to write about mobile applications (Apps!) for tracking nutrition and fitness on smart phones and other devices with skepticism –would readers be interested? As the months passed, I got my own device. I started to think differently. With the news report that 50% of Americans now own a smart phone, I reconsidered. My co-worker noted that many people use them primarily for games and communication and aren’t aware of apps that can improve health and, well - I’m in!
My purpose is not to give names and web locations of health and wellness apps. The University of Kentucky has a fine listing of apps with their stamp of approval at www.uky.edu/HR/wellness/apps.html. Apps that are not free have a dollar sign and are reasonably priced. Click on each link and see a description and screen shot. Here’s what they can do:
• General Self Care – check medical symptoms, drug uses, side effects & warnings, vitamin/supplements; read about conditions, related symptoms and treatments; receive daily wellness tips; find the closest physician, hospital or pharmacy. First aid guide, pill identification tool (using color, shape and imprint) and medication manager for dose/schedule.
• Fitness – Find walking, bicycling or running paths near you or create your own as you go by using tap, track and save actions. View your current location on the route map. Calculate calories burned, altitude, speed and heart rate; voice feedback available. Share via social networking sites; do live tracking of family and friends. Record weight workout sets and reps with timer for spacing sets; track other fitness and health numbers; use personal trainer apps to view exercise instruction videos, add to your routine and track progress. Download high energy musical podcasts to get you moving!
• Weight Loss – keep track of food and restaurant items with calories consumed, physical activity and calories expended; graphing capability to show daily/weekly net caloric balance – see if you are winning or losing the war! Track weight and water intake, too.
• Dining Out – Access nutrition information for items at hundreds of fast food and restaurant chains. Add up the nutrients for the meals you choose. Create meal logs.
• Recipes – Access favorite recipes at the store; add ingredients to a shopping list, locate recipes by ingredient, find meal ideas, peruse recipes by category, list available items to come up with meal ideas – veritable online cookbooks and more! Browse by prep time, ethnicity, ingredient; view nutrition information; save favorites to your own file!
• Other Nutrition – One app allows you to scan items in the grocery store with your mobile phone and view a nutritional grade (C+) for that item to make healthier choices. Farmer’s market app helps give growing/selection info and seasonality on produce items, nutritional value, preparation tips and trivia. A frequently updated Gluten-Free app helps you locate food products by brand and by retailer.
• Pregnancy – videos, week by week guide, on-line What to Expect, parenting guides and ability to track your baby’s growth and development.
• Stress – rest and relaxation guides and routines; deep breathing technique.
• Disease Management – For diabetes, track your meals, carbs, blood sugar levels, weight, activity and blood pressure; graphing capability with desirable range indicators. Blood pressure app helps track measurements. Tobacco Cessation allows you to develop a plan, view motivational tips and track progress.
Thanks to Trudy I can now download one or two apps I will use, and refrain from downloading apps that will ultimately cause me to sit more and move less!
Rayna Cooper is a Registered Dietitian and Family & Consumer Sciences/Nutrition Educator serving Penn State Extension in Adams County. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. Penn State Extension in Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, PA 17325, phone 334-6271, email email@example.com.