February 18, 2015 by Dr. Sana Keller
Searching for health-related apps to track your overall fitness on your mobile device can be overwhelming…where to start looking and how to choose?? How easy is it to use?…What type of reports and information can I access?…Can it connect with other related apps?…Does it have useful information and inspiration?
Health technology has improved significantly over the past several years and is even being offered by companies. I was introduced to Oscar Insurance that offers health insurance in New Jersey and New York which provides each one of their members with a free Misfit Band to set their own goals. Every time they meet them they earn back cash rewards. How cool is that?
There are hundreds of articles and posts listing the ‘Top 10’ – or ‘Top 9’ – or ‘Best 4’ Health Fitness Apps, but we are going to focus on just one: MyFitnessPal™ or MFP for short. No, I am not affiliated with MFP in any way–I just think their app is one of the most useful ones I’ve come across. But first, I must digress–with one important reminder:
A Calorie is NOT a Calorie is NOT a Calorie–When It Comes to Nutrition!
Although I’m not a calorie counting promoter, many people find it helpful to monitor calories consumed, especially in relation to the percentage of calories that are carbohydrates, or fats or proteins. Please agree with me that 100 calories of potato chips DOES NOT = 100 calories of fresh apple—and 500 calories of store-bought (therefore processed) frozen pepperoni pizza DOES NOT = 500 calories of home-made baked chicken and green beans in terms of nutritional value!
Why Bother Tracking Fitness Info? Because It Has a Proven Track Record in Weight Loss!
Studies have shown for years that keeping a food journal can double your weight loss. It can bring greater awareness to exactly what we’re putting in our mouths, and provide incentive for making healthier choices, especially when progress is noticed in weight loss, energy levels and overall well-being.
Features Worth Noting on MyFitnessPal:
- An Online Food Diary/Food Journal—Just type in what you ate (with the amount) and calories are calculated, showing the remainder of calories in your daily goal. It also breaks down the amounts of fats, protein and carbohydrates for better monitoring. This is usually much more accurate than self-reporting (writing down food eaten at the end of the day) and provides instant feedback.
- An Exercise Tracker to easily track calories burned.
- An Online Community with Message Boards for new ideas, tips and inspiration.
- Groups to join for accountability, motivation and inspiration.
- Connectivity with over 30 apps and devices, including MisFit—simply by clicking a button.
- A Blog with an incredible array of topics—some of my Faves: A Beginners Guide to Meal Planning, Burpees 101: What They Are and Why We Do ‘Em, 12 Power Lunches, and 4 Treadmill Workouts That Are Actually Fun!
- Available on the web and mobile devices.
- Reports available to help monitor progress over time.
Please share your favorite fitness app in the comments below–Thanks!
To your ever-improving health–
Sana Keller, PhD, RN, CNC Healthy Lifestyle Coach/Cancer Survivor Coach Health Unlimited LLC
Photo credits: saintpetersblog.com, sites.google.com, monthlyexperiments.com, healthyeatingsfgate.com, ballardfarmersmarket.wordpress.com