/ Health, Technology

Are you motivated by diet and exercise apps?

Man running and using smartphone

You can download all sorts of health apps these days, from those that help you exercise to others that monitor your diet. We’re currently testing some of the most popular ones – have you given any a go?

I’ve been using some health apps myself and, to be frank, they’ve been a mixed bag.

Some exercise-related apps are great, tracking your training routines, plotting your runs using GPS and monitoring your progress (thankfully, I have improved). They can be very motivating and really do encourage me to keep at it – kind of like a cheap personal trainer in my pocket. But others seem rather hopeless and are destined to be deleted as soon as the trial finishes.

Are you ‘appy with your diet?

Others that track your diet, setting you daily calorie targets and advising on a healthy balance, also seem very worthwhile. Entering everything that passes my lips into the app can be a pain, but it’s a revelation when it displays how many hidden calories I’ve consumed each day, even if it does give me a ticking off when I exceed my target.

We’ve got dietary experts checking the accuracy of these apps, and I’m secretly hoping that the apps have been setting my limits too low.

The drinks-tracker is equally revealing. I do like my beer and wine, but it’s very easy to exceed the suggested quotas each week. Before using this app, I think I’ve been using the formula that one unit equals a glass of wine or half a pint of beer. But I honestly didn’t realise that a large glass of wine contains three units! Similarly, a pint of stronger beer can easily be three units too. This app tells all and it’s a sobering experience.

What health-related apps have you been using? Do you have a personal trainer or dietitian in your pocket and have they helped keep you healthy?

Richard Hutchins says:
30 October 2012

Lost three stone with “my fitness pal” great app. Worked a dream!

Tim Dixon says:
31 October 2012

Agree with Richard, MyFitnessPal is a great App. I’m not aiming to loose weight, just control and understand what I’m eating. The recipe information is vast and delivers calorie info, etc for many branded goods. I use the weight recording info as I’m on the latest 5:2 Fasting Regime which was on the BBC Horizon program recently.

Morag says:
1 November 2012

I love MyFitnessPal. I’ve lost 88lbs (6st 4lb) this year using it. Recording your calorie intake and having support from friends (on your wall) is by far the easiest way to lose weight and get fit.

I suspect that a lot of people are fat because they spend so much time playing with their smartphones and other gadgets, rather than going out and getting some exercise. 🙂

Morag says:
1 November 2012

Wrong. 😉 Research shows that people are just as active as they always have been. Obesity is linked to diet, more specifically an increase in consumption of refined or processed grains. Even people who think they have healthy diet can become over weight. After years of battling a weight problem and trying countless diets, I finally discovered I am intolerant to gluten (only 1% of people have obvious symptoms so only a tiny percentage ever find out and even fewer are diagnosed). I lost 6 stone in 6 months and the only change I made was to cut out grains – calorie count and exercise (40 minutes of Zumba 5 times a week) remained the same. MFP helped me identify the cause.

Obesity is always caused by consuming more food than needed, but it would be off-topic to discuss this further.

Actually that isn’t true either, people that do not eat enough can also be obese due to lack of energy and motabalism – suggest you actually research a bit further before making any further comments and embarrassing yourself with your complete lack of knowledge. Obesity is caused by many different issues, the key is to find out what your is, I am also glueton intolerant which caused my weight gain and I only used to eat two small meals a day!

I have used My Fitness Pal successfully for some years now. I also wear an Up Band, so my exercise, heart-rate and sleep patterns are monitored. Unfortunately, earlier this year, My Fitness Pal stopped the link with “Up” and no longer shares the dietary information etc with the Up App, meaning I either have to log food on two sites or simply on one and not the other. As a result all my good intentions have waivered and I now need to start afresh … though the question is should I continuing using the My Fitness Pal or discard it and concentrate all my efforts on the Up App or find some other App or Diet Plan to monitor my progress and exercise regimes?