WE often blame technology for our frantic lifestyles and high stress levels. But if you’re able to disentangle yourself from Twitter for long enough, your smartphone can be a one-stop-shop for improving your fitness, health and wellbeing, writes Alex Watson
Sleep Cycle alarm clock
A good night’s sleep is probably the quickest way to improve your concentration and efficiency during the day. If you place your phone next to you while you snooze, the Sleep Cycle alarm clock app analyses your sleeping pattern. Not only does the app monitor your movement during the night and compile some fancy graphs to let you see exactly how well you slept, it will also gently wake you up during your lightest sleep phase when morning rolls around.
My Fitness Pal
Probably one of the most famous healthy living apps out there at the moment, My Fitness Pal is a free tool designed to help users keep track of their food intake and to aid safe and sensible weight loss. Enter everything you eat into the app (you can even scan barcodes on food packaging using your phone camera to save time) as well as all of your daily exercise - from walking the dog to an intense gym session - and My Fitness Pal will calculate how many calories you’ve consumed as well as how many you’ve burned off over the course of the day. You can even use the app to set weight loss goals, connect with friends who are also working on their fitness and keep track of your progress with handy, colourful graphs.
If you want to pick up the pace with your exercise and escape the confines of the gym there’s no better app than Zombies, Run! You are Runner 5 - crash-landed in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by bloodthirsty zombies - and your only means of escape is to run as fast as you can away from them. The accompanying podcast to each run furthers the story (while still allowing you to listen to your choice of music on your phone) and features some excellent voice acting and seemingly endless entertaining plot twists. Whether you’re a zombie fanatic or a scaredy cat, Zombies, Run! will probably be the most horrific interval training you’ll ever experience.
We tend to focus on the physical when it comes to healthy living, but your mental health plays a huge part in whether or not you feel okay. Describing itself as “a gym membership for your mind,” Headspace offers bitesize lessons in meditation and mindfulness with ten ten-minute long sessions to listen to and enjoy. This allows users to take a short break before, during or after a busy day to relax, empty their mind and de-stress. Since the sessions aren’t too long you won’t feel like you’re wasting any precious time but you’re guaranteed to find yourself looking forward to those sweet ten minutes of peace.
Cost: Free, in-app purchases
Because it’s easy to forget to drink enough water on a daily basis, some smart person has invented an app for that. The beautifully designed iDrated will let you quickly and easily log your water intake with a single swipe and give you the option of setting prompt notifications to drink more if you tend to slack off with your hydration during the day. You can set your own goals and you’ll be rewarded by the app if you reach them, which is always nice. iDrated is currently only available on iOS, but Android had similar water intake trackers available in their app store which will do this simple but helpful job just as well.