The Best Health and Fitness Apps
A version of this article originally appeared on Learnvest.com.
Everyone agrees that good health is priceless. And if you can maintain it with tools that cost less than a morning coffee, it's easy, too.
What will these apps do for you? Oh, everything from help you manage your exercise schedule to be sure you're getting the right nutrients, not to mention get adequate sleep, keep track of doctor's appointments, and figure out when a headache is just a headache, or something more. Here are 9 convenient and free (or almost free) apps that will do that and more.
Calling all runners! MapMyRun allows you to track and map your runs via GPS, then share them with your Facebook friends, Twitter following or other MapMyRun users. The program runs in the background as you play music to keep track of your pace, distance and more. It even allows you to input your daily nutrition for a comprehensive look at your fitness. There are over nine million runners using the app so far, and the compatible website offers 26 million routes they've already taken so you can plot your own new course. Available for iPhone and Android.
Download: MapMyRun, Free
The trick with this app? It guilts you into achieving your goals by keeping you honest about our workouts. The way GymPact works: You make a pact of how many days you’ll work out and set the stakes of how much you’ll pay if you don’t. If you don't follow through, you forfeit that money to those who kept their promises. On the other hand, you win a little cash from other truants every time you do work out. Available on iPhone; coming soon to Android.
Download: GymPact, Free
Fooducate Nutrition Scanner
Ready to be a smarter grocery shopper? With a database of over 200,000 unique products, this app arms you with info as you navigate the store. When you scan a food’s barcode, you receive not only that product's nutrition facts, but also details the manufacturers don’t want you to notice, like trans fats, additives, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup, as well as healthier alternative products. Available for iPhone and Android.
Download: Fooducate Nutrition Scanner, Free
You know how we feel about going paperless (we love it!), and My Medical lets us eliminate a few more scraps. This record-keeping app reminds you of upcoming medical appointments for you and your family members (you can sort by name to differentiate between your kid's or your partner's appointments and your own).
This app is particularly good if you're on the go, don't want to take a ton of paperwork with you, or are juggling a bunch of prescriptions and could use some help keeping them straight. The app stores your emergency contact and insurance info, in addition to any prescription info you enter in. My Medical even autocorrects medical terms such as the names of prescriptions and vaccinations, so it's easier to remember exactly what you need. Available on iPhone; coming soon to Android.
Download: My Medical, $2.99
Ever worried that the street signs are getting blurrier? Vision Test can calm your fears—or get you to the optometrist. The app conducts basic tests for visual issues such as astigmatism and visual acuity (standard clarity of vision, usually described in the 20/20 format), among others. If your test results indicate an issue that needs professional correction, it will recommend you visit an optician and even help you find one. Available for iPhone and Android.
Download: Vision Test, Free
Hypochondriacs, beware: For the rest of us, this app will really come in handy. WebMD's popular symptom checker allows you to plug in your symptoms and peruse possible ailments, and it's now available through your phone, along with information on drugs and treatments; a basic guide to first aid; and listings for local doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. Available for iPhone and Android.
Download: WebMD, Free
Restaurants pose a unique problem for the healthy eater: What exactly is in this delicious, placemat-sized dish? Or that cheese-laden appetizer dip? Restaurant Nutrition can answer that. With nutritional info for over 60,000 dishes at over 250 restaurants (mostly national chains like Starbucks), this app can take the guesswork out of what you're really eating for dinner. Available for iPhone and Android.
Download: Restaurant Nutrition, Free
Nike Training Club
Designed specifically for women, this app provides more than 85 instructor-narrated fitness routines—basically it's an audio-only exercise video you can play from your phone. It tracks your progress and rewards efforts with custom workouts created by Nike’s professionals, pro athletes and celebrities such as Glee star Lea Michele, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, and personal trainer Ary Nunez, who trains Rihanna. Create playlists to go along with your workouts, and, if ever you don't understand what the instructor is talking about, you can click into a video demonstration for each move. Available for iPhone only.
Download: Nike Training Club, Free
Called "a revelation" by the Washington Post, this app (as well as its website) helps you schedule an appointment with a local doctor just by entering your zip code and insurance. The app shows you local doctors who accept your insurance and available appointment slots, and you book your time with just one more click. Available for iPhone and Android.
Download: ZocDoc, Free