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What are the top 3 iPhone health apps?

Female sprinter with motion blur

Everywhere you look, people seem to be glued to their smartphones. In a world where everything is accessible through the touch of a button, it’s easy to get distracted from what your body needs. Luckily, the very same pieces of technology that can cause distractions can be used to manage a healthy lifestyle. Through the use of GPS signals and motion sensors, today’s phones have the ability to track everything from body movement to location.

We asked Doctor Nigel Modern, a medical director at HealthExpress, to go through the top 3 iPhone health and fitness apps.

Carrot Fit

When we’re falling short of our weight loss targets, we all need a small dose of harsh criticism to get us back on track. This is where Carrot Fit steps in to offer some tough love. The acid-tongued personal assistant is designed to be anything but friendly. Not only does she wake you up in the morning, but also she’ll ensure you get your chores completed before pushing you to do some exercise. Should you fail to hit your weight loss goals, Carrot Fit turns on you with ridicule and ominous words of disapproval. For every pound dropped, she rewards you by unlocking upgrade items and sharing new workout tips.

MyFitnessPal

This is one of the most popular nutritional and diet apps around. It contains a huge database of over five million foods. Once a daily calorie goal is set, all you have to do is enter the foods you’ve eaten and amount of exercise you’ve completed during the week to help you stay on track. Keeping a regularly updated food journal will remind you of any episodes of mindless eating. Maintaining a food diary increases your awareness of dietary habits. Calorie counting is another great way of identifying areas where you can make changes to food intake and portion sizes. Best of all, the app is free to use.

Nike+GPS

Nike+GPS is one of the best apps around to help improve your running performance. When it comes to running apps, there are many popular versions to download, many of which are free, but the Nike+GPS is simply a cut above the rest. To begin, you only need to enter the number of miles you want to complete and off you go. The app can tell you what kind of pace you’re jogging at and you’ll also be able to locate where you’ve run on a map. Green areas of the map will show areas where you ran faster whereas red ones will show where you decelerated.

Tracking your exercise progress, counting calories and setting personal weight loss goals couldn’t be easier, thanks to today’s smartphones. These apps tend to be underutilised by the elderly community, but they really shouldn’t be, especially considering how easy they are to use. So the next time you’ve got some free time on your hands, why not explore the apps for yourself. They will not always work for everyone, but if you’re struggling to stick to a plan or if other methods have proved unsuccessful, they can be very useful for logging your health and fitness progress.

Ever wondered how exercise really effects your body? Find out in our science of sport feature in Issue 68 of How It Works magazine. Discover how your heart and lungs power your muscles, where that pain is coming from after a long session at the gym, and how to perfect your stroke so you can glide through the water with ease. Pick up a copy from all good retailers, or order it online from the ImagineShop. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device.