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   Our 7 Favorite Apps for Good Health (and Cancer Prevention)

Find Your Health App

If you want to eat better, move more, or lose weight – for cancer prevention or just to feel good – there’s a health app for you.

This year, an estimated 247 million smart phone users will download at least one health app, almost double that from 2011. We asked around here at AICR and found seven phone apps that motivate and inspire healthier living.

Run 10K

Run 10K  trains you to run 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
Cost: $2.99.

How I use it : I used this app 3 times a week on the treadmill to increase my running to walking ratio. I liked it because it told me exactly what to do. I could also check off each workout as I completed them and sync to my Facebook and twitter accounts.

Why I like it : I started as a non-runner and the first week of workouts had me run 30 seconds at a time. 

After the 13-week training, I ran a 10K in 1 hour 5 minutes – averages out to a little more than a 10-minute mile. 
Justin

Lose It!

This  app  helps you manage your weight.
Cost: Free

How I use it : I entered everything I ate and drank daily, as well as my exercise. I used it to track calories and stay under a certain daily calorie intake given expenditure.

Why I like it : It’s easy and fast to enter items. It keeps track of previous meals, has a long list of restaurant foods, lets you scan the food directly from the barcode and enter your own recipe. A bar graph showing calories consumed vs. the goal calorie intake is easy to interpret and kept me motivated.

It helped me lose weight and eat healthier…  seeing the actual calorie and nutrient amounts for various restaurant meals helped me make better choices and motivated me to eat only half of the serving when eating out, which has now become a habit.
Susan S. 

Target Weight

Target Weight tracks your weight.
Cost: Free (also a $1.99 version). 

How I use it : I’m trying to get down to my goal weight. At first, I moved the line on the BMI chart to the “healthy” range and it tells me everyday how much weight I need to lose to get there. 

Why I like it : With this, I’m not counting anything and I don’t have to maintain it every day. It can graph my weight over any time period, and it also projects how long it will take to reach my goal.

I don’t have to remind myself to record my weight every day because I see a push notification with the number of pounds I want to lose -- it’s always there on the app icon. It's a visual of my progress, which is motivating. I now only have two more pounds until I get to my target weight!
Rose A.

MapMyRun

MapMyRun tracks your mileage and finds routes
others like.
Cost: Free

How I use it : I use it to find new running routes in my area. When I was training for a half marathon I used it every day to find different ways to complete my mileage. I also mapped my own favorite paths.

Why I like it : The site has accurate distance and elevation information. It was nice to get feedback from other runners, too, so I’d know what to expect from a particular run. 

It mixed up my workouts so they weren’t all the same.
Becky G.

Nike Training Club

This app gives you custom workouts.
Cost: Free.

How I use it : I use it about three times a week at home or when I’m on a business trip.

Why I like it : It’s like having a personal trainer. I pick a level – intermediate – and then the kind of workout I want: toning, cardio or strength. So for a 30-minute workout it lists a series of exercises then it would say: ‘you are going to do Burpees for 60 seconds.’ It counts down and tells me to keep going.

If you get an exercise like a Burpee and don’t know what it is, you can pause and look at a video. I can also set the workout to my music. It’s made me exercise more because it’s convenient. I don’t have to go to the gym or have a lot of equipment. I get points the more I exercise so there’s an incentive. When my sister and I were training for a triathlon we competed with each other to see who could get more points. I can change up my workouts and use it almost anywhere. 
Sarah

Fooducate

Fooducate grades supermarket products to help you find healthier options
Cost: Free (allergy version: $4.99)

How I use it: When I'm planning on buying a food I don’t usually eat – like crackers – I search their top products in that category and find one I like. Once I’m at the store, if I see something like a new cereal I’ll scan it and see a quick nutritional overview.

I also purchased the allergies version so when I’m having someone over who has a nut allergy I can look for products ahead of time.

Why I like it : It's so easy to use and helps me save time in the store. It gives foods a grade so it’s easy to read –tells me how it compares to similar foods and gives me alternatives.

It has really helped me with the whole grains because that’s confusing, and if I don’t want to take time to read all the ingredients I can just use this. 
Alice

My Fitness Pal

This app counts your calories.
Cost: Free.

How I use it : Every day I log what I eat and how many calories I burn, working towards a net goal of 1200 calories per day.

Why I like it : It’s so easy and barely takes any time. For example, because I eat pretty much the same breakfast every day, I have it pre-programmed. It has about 300 forms of exercise so you can find practically anything. All I do is plug in how many minutes I do the activity and if it’s distance related, like walking, I include the miles then it tells how many calories I burned.

I had never really thought of doing laundry, cleaning, or grocery shopping as a way to burn calories before. But this has made me really conscious of what I eat and how much I move – or do not move – throughout the day. I love it. 
Heather

Picture of health apps

Get Going!

For information to help you reach your health goals:

Move more

Eat smart

Stay lean

Try the New American Plate Challenge

Successful weight loss strategies

Published on October 5, 2012

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