LEE ANNE GRACE: Apps for smart phones offer help with health, fitness

By Lee Anne Grace

One of the most effective tools available to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle may be much closer than you think. If you are among the 50 percent of Americans who own a smart phone, you have a very powerful fitness tool right in your pocket.
There are hundreds of health and fitness apps available for both the Apple iPhone and the Android platform, with new ones being developed every day.
I have listed a few nutrition, fitness and health apps below that I have personally used or have received multiple positive reviews.
Food Logs
• MyFitnessPal (free) – This app can work in conjunction with the online site at www.myfitnesspal.com or as a stand alone platform. MyFitnessPal has the largest online food data base. In addition to daily calories consumed, carbs, protein and fat grams can be tracked, as well as a number of micronutrients. Weight, BMI, body fat and various measurements can be recorded. There is a separate area for recording calories burned by exercise.
• Fitday Mobile (free)
• Lose It! (free)
These two apps provide good alternatives to MyFitnessPal. The information that can be logged is essentially the same for all three food log apps. The major difference is the way the data is displayed.
Walking
• WalkMeter ($4.99) – Although there are several free walking apps you may want to download, this one is worth the price. It has won several fitness app awards and is very highly rated. This app may be just the motivation you are needing to start a walking for fitness exercise program.
Running
• 5K Runner (Free for the first two weeks, $2.99 for the upgrade) – There are several Couch to 5K running training apps available, but this one is my favorite. The increase in walk/run intervals is gradual, with just the right amount of challenge. If you want to start running, downloading this app is a great way to get started.
Cycling
• Cyclemeter ($4.99) – This app is a GPS cycling computer for your phone. Distance, speed, elevation, time elapsed, and location are tracked. Heart rate and cadence can be monitored with the purchase of add-on accessories. Workout data is displayed on a calendar, and split, interval and zone performance can be analyzed.
Workout/Strength Training
• Daily Burn (free) – The Daily Burn is an extensive library of workout videos for all ability levels, from the beginner just getting started to the professional body builder. Many different workouts are available, including yoga, kickboxing, mobility, cardio and strength.
• Daily Workouts (free for starter version, $3.99 for full version) – This app specializes in fast workouts for target areas: arms, core, legs, butt and total body. Video demonstrations are available for each exercise. This is my go-to app when I am pressed for time.
Diabetics
• Healthsome G for Glucose (free – iPhone only) – Turn your phone into a glucose and weight monitor with tracking over time, statistic reporting, and the ability to e-mail reports to a medical professional straight from the application. A built-in reminder system is also present. An inexpensive upgrade allows for multiple users and tracking of cholesterol and blood pressure.
To download any of these apps onto your phone, visit www.apple.com or your iTunes account if you own an iPhone. Android platform users can visit Google Play.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years. She is the mother of two teenage daughters and enjoys running in her spare time.