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Sam_noderer_headshotPosted by Samantha Noderer

Samantha is a Health Communication Intern at the MA Department of Public Health

 

 

Take one look around a crowded space and there’s no denying most of us spend a lot of time on our phones…

That’s why apps are popping up like hotcakes for anything and everything – including health and wellness. If our phones are always with us, is there a better guide to lead us through a world that often seems to be designed against making healthy choices?

I surveyed the Prevention and Wellness team here at DPH to find out what apps people are using in the office to live healthier lifestyles. The top three reported were for eating better, moving more and overall wellness.

App_LoseIt!
 

Lose It! – This app helps you set up a personalized weight-loss program by calculating a daily calorie budget (according to your weight, height, and goals) and tracking what you eat everyday (made easy with a built-in barcode scanner for food on the go). Loseit! also helps you track your physical activity. It’s all about creating a weight loss plan that actually fits into your routine.

Lose it! is a social app too. You can share experiences with other Loseit! users or post your progress on Facebook and Twitter. As the winner of the Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge, Loseit! is ideal for anyone wanting to shed a few pounds. It’s available for FREE on iPhone and Android.

 

App_fooducate

 

Fooducate – Ever been grocery shopping and wondered just how healthy something was, only to find the nutrition label might as well be written in another language? There’s an app for that, too!

Fooducate is like having a dietician on speed dial. All you have to do is scan the barcode of a product and Fooducate grades its “healthiness” (just like school, but we’re striving for A’s this time around, people). All the factors get taken into careful consideration: from nutrient levels, to ingredients, to how processed a food is. There are also special app versions for those with food allergies, gluten intolerance or diabetes.

The best part? You get recommendations for alternative, healthier food options complete with ratings from other users to consider before buying. Fooducate also offers a wealth of current information about healthy recipes, food safety, news and more. Available for free on iPhone and Android (ad-free version is $3.99).

App_myfitness
MapMyFitness – MapMyFitness apps are another huge hit in the office. These apps use your phone’s built-in GPS feature to track your workout routes. You can also maintain a record of your stats during each session (time, distance, calories burned, etc).

MapMyFitness is designed to help you stay on top of your personal goals by not only tracking your activity, but also what you eat, and suggesting new routes and personalized training. The app also offers a library of well-illustrated workout exercises and fitness class options. You can also challenge friends or join online fitness communities. There are several versions of the app available; according to the type of activities you enjoy doing: MapMyFitness (general), MapMyRun, MapMyCycle, MapMyWalk, MapMyHike, and even MapMyDogwalk!

 

 

Play! – A few other office favorites combined physical activity with music and/or games and are definitely worth checking out. These include the LoLoFit BeatBurn series (shifts the tempo of your music according to your pace), Monumental (tracks your real-life stair climbing to reach the top of a virtual monument), and Rhythmatics (like “Guitar Hero” for fitness that plans your movements to a musical track).

What kinds of apps do you use to live a healthier life? What would you expect to get out of a Mass in Motion app? Would you use it? Let us know in the comments below. Happy App’ing!

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