Over the last few years, it’s not surprising that we’ve become more conscious of our health. We’re also learning that being healthy involves taking a holistic view: from proactively managing our mental health, to addressing our physical health including exercising regularly, eating healthily and getting quality sleep.
And thanks to advances in technology, the average person now has access to so much information that can help them improve their health at the tap of a button, on a daily basis, wherever they are in the world.
If you’re looking to stay healthy as we enter the cooler months, here are the top health and fitness apps being downloaded in South Africa in the IOS App Store (as of March 2023).
The cornerstone of a healthy life is good sleep – we know more than ever how many benefits sleep has, from boosting our immune system, to repairing damaged tissue, to eliminating toxins and even helping maintain a healthy weight.
The first step in improving sleep, though, is to know what your sleep habits are – and then to implement consistent improvements. ShutEye is an app that helps you monitor and then learn from your individual sleep cycle, for example how many hours of quality sleep you’re getting, how often you wake up during the night or whether or not you snore.
The app also provides a variety of sleep sounds and sleep stories to help you fall asleep in a natural way – and then stay asleep.
Everyone’s different, with different lifestyle circumstances, budgets and exercise preferences. BetterMe is a personalised health app that takes a holistic approach to physical health and mental wellbeing.
Choose workouts to suit your fitness level or mood (whether that’s yoga or sprinting), as well meal plans created by experts for every preference – whether that’s intermittent fasting, keto or a vegan diet. Why is it effective? Well, with a customised approach to health, you’re more likely to achieve faster results that are sustainable too.
The app also offers personalised nutrition plans, calorie counters, health tips, recipe videos and even a feature where you can message a coach if you need advice on workouts. Got a medical question? If you’re a member of Fedhealth medical aid, you can call a Nurse Line 24/7 and get professional medical advice too.
The Wonder Weeks
An offshoot of the bestselling book of the same name, the Wonder Weeks app helps you track your baby’s 10 mental ‘leaps’, which are periods in which a baby’s development increases rapidly.
During this development period they can cry more, be more clingy or grumpy and less like themselves, so understanding when these leaps are and what they involve can be hugely helpful for new parents.
Through the app, you can better understand when your baby may be going through as well as how to support them during this period, whether it’s learning about relationships, sequences or events.
With the popularity of books like James Clear’s ‘Atomic Habits’, we’re waking up to the fact that large life changes start with small everyday habits. In the same way, adopting good long term habits starts with making those small choices every day.
Sticking to this theme, the Streaks app is a to-do list to help you form good daily habits that will, ultimately, improve your life dramatically.
Every day that you complete a task – whether that’s flossing your teeth, eating healthily or walking the dog – your streak is extended, and every time it’s broken, it resets to zero days. You can choose or create up to 24 tasks, which you can set for certain days of the week, every day or multiple times a day.
Our brain is a muscle – and just like any other muscle, it needs to be exercised in order to keep functioning properly. Did you know that even as you age, your brain is able to grow, learn things and form new neural connections?
This process is called brain plasticity and requires regular training. Impulse is a ‘brain training’ app that helps you improve your mental health by playing mind games that are both challenging and entertaining.
The thinking behind this is that brain workouts together with regular physical exercise and a healthy diet may help to keep your brain clearer, sharper and ready for those day-to-day challenges life throws at you.
Whether you’re young or simply young-at-heart, technology has the potential to boost our health and improve our lives, so get downloading and make the most of this body and life that you’ve been given.