Use phone apps to improve New Year health, fitness
by Denise Sperle
Jan 03, 2013 | 1471 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Denise Sperle
Denise Sperle
January is time to make good on those New Year’s resolutions, and resolving to improve personal health and fitness is a popular goal for many as we begin 2013.

Whether you aim to make gym time a regular part of your day or find the right diet to take off a few extra pounds, today’s smartphone technology offers help to achieve your objectives.

Smartphone applications are amazing resources for health, wellness and fitness information — and for motivation to take action.

MobiHealthNews reported in 2012 that more than 13,600 health and fitness apps were available from Apple’s App Store alone — and the inventory of apps for Android phones is just as robust.

Smartphone apps address diet and nutrition, cardiovascular fitness, stress reduction, strength training, women’s health, mental health, chronic conditions, sleep therapy, emergency care, smoking cessation and medication adherence.

Do you want to track calories in your favorite takeout foods or the nutrition value of items in your grocery cart? Learn CPR, first aid or other life-saving actions? Improve your workout routine? Learn more about your prescription medications? Simply discover new insights into your overall health and wellness? It’s easy to find an app for that.

Spending some time browsing through phone-specific apps is a great way to see what’s right for you. But to get you thinking about the possibilities, here are a few options that many have found helpful:

•Tap & Track is a powerful, easy-to-use calorie, weight and exercise tracker available to iPhone users. Its extensive database of food items, brands and restaurants can help you make decisions on the types of foods and number of calories you consume — using personalized graphs, charts and reports (

•Fooducate, for iPhone and Android phones, offers simple, concise and objective recommendations for everyday food items based on a grading system developed by dieticians, scientists and concerned parents (

•RunKeeper, for iPhone and Android users, turns a smartphone into a personal trainer, tracking your mileage, speed and calories burned during runs, walks, bike rides, hikes and other activities using the phone’s built-in GPS ( ).

•Gazelle GPS Cardiovascular Workout Tracker notes progress during workouts or physical therapy sessions, tracks goals for distance and exercise duration and can even export data from workouts to a spreadsheet (available in the iPhone App Store).

•Quitter 2.0 for the iPhone tackles smoking cessation from a different angle — the economic impact of giving up the habit — by tracking the financial benefits of not lighting up (

Many of these apps include features to help you easily share through a Facebook or Twitter account how you are progressing toward your goals. Best of all, most apps are either free or available inexpensively for less than $5.

And there’s more good news. Try this easy way to save on your cellphone data plan and bandwidth use when accessing your favorite phone apps: Set your phone to automatically connect to your home wireless Internet service and use your apps to help get your 2013 off to a healthier, fitter start.

All the best of luck to each of you in achieving your New Year’s resolutions.

Denise Sperle, a volunteer columnist for the Irrigator, is the Central Valley general manager for Frontier Communications. She welcomes questions about technology and Internet safety at or

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