With over 2.8 Million apps available for Android in Google Play, and just over 2.2 Million in Apple’s App Store, the options at our fingertips are more expansive than ever.
In fact, global downloads are projected to reach a record 205 Billion this year. While Gaming and Entertainment apps continue to lead the way, the Health and Wellness category is among the fastest growing. People across the world are turning to technology to help them eat better, sleep better and age better. So, whether we’re combating stress, pumping iron, or improving our diet, these great apps are making it easier than ever to keep your mind, body and spirit in shape
We’ve poured through thousands of apps on both Android and iPhone to find a handful of game-changers that can help you live a healthier life right NOW. These apps are full of functions and features that will jumpstart your journey to a better you.
1. Asana Rebel
Yoga has exploded in the U.S. over the last decade, with no signs of slowing down. There are 40 million Americans practicing yoga today, with that number expected to grow to 55 million by 2020. Yoga’s benefits range from increased mobility and weight loss, to stress reduction and boosted energy. And, while classes are still the most common form of practice, a huge source of its growth is due to people beginning to more frequently roll out their mats at home.
Asana Rebel is a yoga-inspired fitness app that brings world-class yoga instructors and lifestyle-friendly flows into your own home. The app leverages high-quality content and customized training programs based on your individual goals and personal specifications. Users can choose workouts ranging from “Warrior Flow” and “Fat Burn Max”, to “Energy Booster” and “Core Builder.” There are even specially tailored workouts for men, runners, experts and beginners. Each workout includes an engaging video narrated by an expert instructor who guides users through warm-ups, workouts and cooldowns. The app is free, but does offer a paid subscription that unlocks additional workouts. You can download Asana Rebel on the App Store or in Google Play.
Today’s grocery shelves hold 40,000 more products than they did just twenty years ago, with more items hitting shelves every day. What used to be clear-cut categories like dairy, produce, beverages and snacks has now become a blended brew of combination products, innovation-driven formulas and diet-specific lines. Not to mention an onslaught of health-focused claims from organics to natural to local. At the same time, 80% of Americans want to eat healthier. However, according to the Center of Health Statistics, 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. We need help in the aisles.
That’s where the OptUP app comes in. OptUp is like your virtual assistant for healthier shopping, it evaluates what you buy today, make suggestions for healthier alternatives and allows you to track your progress over time. It takes out all the guesswork, head-scratching, and label scrutinizing. Users who shop at any of the Kroger Family of Stores (20+ stores including Kroger, Fry’s, Smith’s Ralph’s, and several more) input their loyalty info, and then their grocery purchases are auto-loaded into the platform and given a nutrition rating from 1-100. The app then provides an “OptUP score” – a personalized, multiplied, 8-week average of your nutrition ratings – which gives you an idea of the nutritional value of recent grocery purchases. Even better, the app will suggest similar, yet healthier, alternatives based on what you’re buying today. The OptUp app is free and available on both iOS and Android.
Americans are eating out an average 4.5 times per week. Whether drive-thrus or fine dining, more often than not, fueling up outside the home can hurt your health (and your wallet). Research has shown that regularly eating home cooked meals leads to a much healthier diet, contributing to higher energy, lower sugar intake, stronger mental health, and a longer life.
Some of the most common reasons people choose to eat out include little time to make meals, confusion on how to ‘cook healthy,’ and uncertainty on what to make. FitMenCook helps solve these problems. It has hundreds of healthy recipes – with dozens more added each month – that are fun, tasty and fairly simple, even for the novice chef. Founder, Kevin Curry, focuses on helping people create meals that are creative, vibrant and affordable so that eating healthy becomes a way of life, not just a short-lived diet. The app enables you to search and scroll through beautiful photos of finished recipes, as well as filter foods by everything from low carb and vegan, to high protein and guilt-free sweets. Most recipes have engaging video demonstrations, and all have easy-to-follow instructions, ingredient lists, and even a grocery shopping list feature. This top-rated app also enables you to shop quickly for your week ahead, meal prep, meal plan and track your calories, macros and progress. FitMenCook costs $3.99 for unlimited access to all recipes. You can download it on the App Store or in Google Play.
Meditation training is another ancient-turned-new-age phenomenon that has hit the mainstream. More and more people are turning to meditation as a way to cope with stress, improve focus, drive productivity, and aid in relaxation. It’s also now one of the top treatments for mental health illnesses, increasingly used by professionals in combination with therapy and medication. Recent studies have shown that meditation positively changes the brain and reduces the body’s stress response. People who meditate benefit from increased energy, concentration and happiness.
One of the most common reasons people hesitate to meditate is because they simply don’t know how to begin. Calm guides users through a large selection of meditations, in addition to other features aimed at personal development. A soothing voice instructs users on breathing techniques and prompts them where to direct thoughts in order to enter a state of meditation. The app – recognized by Apple in 2017 as “App of the Year” – has a user-friendly experience and endless content to engage in intentional mindfulness. Users can choose from a collection of meditations that specifically target goals like reducing anxiety, practicing gratitude, and building self-esteem. The meditations frequently include a multi-day program ranging from 1-3 weeks to work on the selected objective. Calm is available for iOS and Android devices.
5. Sleep Cycle
Coffee and Red Bull, with a side of energy pills. We are tired. All of us. And most of the time, the cause of our morning sluggishness and afternoon apathy emanates from the simplest of sources – lack of quality shut-eye. Sleep deprivation is such a rampant problem that in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. Sleep is critical for overall health, and inadequate sleep is associated with numerous health problems. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 34.8 percent of American adults are getting less than seven hours of sleep — the minimum length of time adults should sleep in order to reduce risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, mental distress, coronary heart disease and early death.
There are so many apps and tools out there that promise to help facilitate a restful sleep. However, Sleep Cycle leverages science to analyze sleep patterns and identify sleep states by tracking our movements while in bed. While you sleep, you go through cycles of sleep states. The first state in a sleep cycle is light sleep, followed by deep sleep, and then a dream state referred to as REM sleep. A full sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes and is normally repeated several times each night. Waking up feeling rested is all about timing. Sleep Cycle’s alarm clock tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up during light sleep. Waking up during light sleep enables you to feel naturally rested, without an alarm clock. Waking up during REM, on the other hand, leaves you feeling groggy and exhausted as you crawl out of bed. To use the app, users specify the time frame in which they would like to wake up, then Sleep Cycle does its thing. The phone is placed face down with the microphone pointed in the direction of the bed. The microphone picks up on movements during sleep to determine sleep cycle. The result leaves users waking up fully energized and ready to take on the day. You can download Sleep Cycle for free on the App Store or in Google Play.
So there you have it. Our top 5 apps that will help you live a healthier life, TODAY. We hope you dive in and try these out. It’s amazing what technology can do when you put it in the hands of passionate, motivated, health-conscious people.