Start the New Year off right with these health and fitness apps!
No matter what you did throughout the previous year, you can wash it all away with a few good New Year's resolutions. With the beginning of another year comes the beginning of new habits. We can forget our lazy pasts and start fresh with new goals. That's what New Year's resolutions are for.
Unfortunately, they are harder to stick to than we usually expect. That's why, by the end of the year, we are kicking ourselves for getting lost along the way. This year, my goal is to learn how to relax more, get more exercise, and strengthen my writing and reading skills. On this list are the apps I'm going to use to get fit. Wish me luck!
3 Minute Mindfulness
When Apple updated watchOS to include the Breath app, we all discovered just how important it is to take a moment to relax and breath. 3 Minute Mindfulness does more than just help you stop and breath. It helps relieve stress and anxiety, focus on the now, and improve sleep. There are different breathing exercises for different occasions and even weekly programs to help build good habits. And, you don't need an Apple Watch to participate.
Fitbit is one of the most popular step trackers on the market, and the companion app doesn't even require a physical tracker. You can use your iPhone accelerometer and GPS information in conjunction with the Fitbit app to track your steps, distance, calories burned, and more. You can also keep track of your sleep habits, heart rate, and weight with compatible peripherals. You can share your daily workouts with friends and see where you stand in the Fitbit Challenge leaderboards. Creating fitness goals makes it easier to see where you are headed and whether you need to do more to meet your goals. Fitbit is the fitness app that I wish Apple's Activity app could be more like.
MyFitnessPal does a lot to help you lose weight, but where it really shines is in calorie tracking. You can input any food item you have ever put in your mouth and track how many calories you've ingested. You can even create meals based on individual food items you eat on a regular basis for faster data entry. If an item doesn't already exist in the vast database, you can create your own and include all of the nutritional value that you know about. It also connects with dozens of peripherals and apps, including Apple's Health app, to track your activities, showing you just how many more calories you'll need to burn today if you want to shed those pounds.
One of the best ways to help encourage a healthy sleep cycle is to quiet your brain with white noise. myNoise is a fully customizable sound generator that has hundreds of multi-track noise programs from nature to sci-fi and everything in-between. I like to take naps to the sound of a nice spring walk and fall asleep at night to the sound of the Enterprise's soothing hum. Each sound features 10 tracks, each hosting a different part of the generated sound. So, if you love the low rumble of the Star Trek ship, but can't sleep when you hear the bleeps and blips, you can turn those sounds down and get to sleep faster without interruption.
The brain needs exercise, too. When your mind is strong and focused, it helps keep you on track to getting the rest of your body fit, too. Elevate has special sessions to help increase your skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and math. When you do the daily exercises, it increases the speed and accuracy at which your brain performs. Even if your body is in tip-top shape, you mind still needs some daily exercises, too.
Our 2016 winner for best iPhone appis great for making sense of the heart rate data that your Apple Watch measures. It shows a detailed graph of your heart rate history, average beats, and works with heart peripherals to add even more helpful information. When your heart rate spikes, you can tag it with whatever you were doing at the moment so you know when you should de-stress, or when you were just exercising.