When it comes at health, diet and exercise, we’ve never had more information at our fingertips. This has both positives and negatives. It’s never been easier to find advice for your specific needs – be that fitness, nutrition, mental wellbeing or illness – but it’s also never been easier to find conflicting views from self-appointed ‘experts’. How do you know to believe, what is quality advice and what, most importantly, will actually work?
One of the easiest ways to sort the wheat from the chaff is by opting for an app. Both the Apple app store and Google Play allow users to rate apps, meaning the best naturally tend to rise to the top, and once you’ve found one you like, it’s always there in your pocket waiting to answer all your health and fitness questions. Here are some of our favourites…
The all-rounder: Centr
Picture the celebrity you’d most like to emulate. Chances are you’re thinking of Chris Hemsworth – because, frankly, who hasn’t watched Thor and wished for those biceps? Luckily for us all, Mr Hemsworth has caught on to this fact and created an app packed with fitness, nutrition and mindfulness advice from the team that helps him, well, look like Chris Hemsworth.
There are HIIT, yoga, boxing and MMA workouts from Hemsworth’s team of specialist personal trainers – including his stunt double Bobby Holland Hanton – dietician-approved recipes, shopping lists and meal plans from chefs such as Darren Robertson, plus guided meditations, stress-relieving techniques, confidence boosting strategies and sleep visualisations to support your mental health. Better yet, Hemsworth appears in almost all the content – and we can’t think of any better motivation than that.
The diet one: MyFitnessPal
Confident in your workout regime but still struggling to shift those last few pounds? Chances are your diet needs a little work. At its most basic, MyFitnessPal is a calorie tracker and food journal and, if nothing else, will make you aware exactly what you’re putting in to your body and where those extra calories are coming from.
However, should you choose, MyFitnessPal can also help you manage your weight loss by calculating the number of calories you should be eating each day (we’re not all the average 2,500-a-day man), account for calorie deficits from exercise and help you create balanced meal plans by tracking the ratio of macro and micro nutrients you’re eating. This is the next best thing to have a nutritionist at your beck and call.
The wellness one: Calm
A former App of the Year, Calm is currently the number one app for sleep and meditation with over 50 million downloads and 700,000 five-star reviews – so you don’t just have to take our word on how good it is. Offering a full wellbeing programme created by mindfulness expert Tamara Levitt, Calm aims to make you the most relaxed version of yourself possible. There are guided meditations, audio mindfulness masterclasses, breathing exercises, low-intensity stretching workouts, playlists to help you focus and bedtime stories to send you off to sleep to the dulcet tones of Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry. It’s a little dose of R&R on hand whenever you need it.
The fitness one: Nike Training Club
Okay, you’ve signed up for the gym. Great. Now what? It can be easy to lose motivation when you’re faced with a gym full of intimidatingly complex equipment and no specific workout in mind. This is where Nike Training Club steps in. Completely free to use, the app hosts more the 190 workouts devised by the brand’s Master Trainers, as well as athletes including Simone Biles, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rory McIlroy, split into Strength, Endurance, Yoga and Mobility categories to help you find the right ones for you.
The app can also devise a series of 4-6 week training plans based on your goals, activity levels and the amount of time you can devote to working out and integrates with Nike’s Running app so you can see all your workout data in one place. The regularly updated app feed also offers tips on improving your exercise technique, healthy recipe ideas, weekly fitness challenges and information on how to connect with sport groups in your area.
The medical one: NHS App
Perhaps not as fun or frivolous as the other apps on this list, the NHS App is possibly the most important health app to download if you live in the UK. Firstly there’s an entire section where you can check your symptoms and receive trusted NHS information on what might ail you and advice on whether you need to see a doctor about it. So no more manically Googling your sore throat and deciding it must be cancer.
Secondly, you can do all kinds of medical admin – booking and cancelling GP appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and viewing your medical record – without taking up a second of an NHS worker’s time which, we can all agree, could be much better spent elsewhere. It might not be sexy but we guarantee you won’t regret it.
Here’s the expert’s guide to managing anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic…
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