The Australian Psychological Society had a lot to reveal about our stress levels in 2015. According to one study, 35% of Australians were suffering from “significant distress” and over a fifth suffered from anxiety levels classed as “above normal.”
It seems that people have a lot to say about the negative effect of mobile devices and technology on our health. And for the most part, a lot of us are already aware of this – we know that spending hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr exposes us to a lot of…content. The good, the bad, the ugly. The motivational, the idealistic, the unhealthy.
“Young folk these days…”
The reality is that technology isn’t just here to stay – it’s here to grow. Humanity has reached a point where we need it. Our phones and the internet are no longer just things of leisure. They’re things that are necessary, essential to our homes, workplaces, and of course, our social lives.
Fortunately, the world wide web is not just a cesspool of negativity. There are, in fact, quite a number of genuinely useful applications out there that are designed to encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves. The world has seen a massive shift in what it means to be healthy. The focus is no longer just on a Baywatch body, but on our brains as well. Whole-body wellness is inside-out.
The best health apps around
We’ve compiled a list of the best health apps to help you meet the best version of you. This list covers workouts, eating plans, meditation, sleep and apps designed to calm you down. See, Grandpa: phones aren’t the devil!
7 Minute Workout
There’s a reason this easy to use app is beloved among the time-poor and health-conscious. It has easy to follow workouts – with no equipment needed – and don’t require hours of commitment. These effective workouts aren’t just good for your body. According to research, short, daily bouts of exercise can help you focus and improve your memory.
Headspace is one of the most popular guided meditation apps out there. Meditation can be an extremely powerful practice. It allows you to take time to yourself, focus on your breathing, and be more present. If you’re new to meditation, Headspace offers free guided meditation sessions by way of introduction to this practice. Start with 3, 5 or 10 minutes and see how many days in a row you can commit to.
Calm is another guided meditation app that is lauded for its sleep series. Users have reported falling asleep sooner, more easily, and enjoying more restful sleep by listening to Calm’s sleepcasts. Calm and Headspace are similar, though it is worth trying them both out to decide which you prefer, as the voices and stories are different.
This is the app for people who can’t seem to just let things go. Do you worry about the kids when they’re at school? A work project weeks after it’s finished? Any tiny, little, seemingly insignificant thing? Buddha Board brings a little bit of zen into your life with no sand garden, rake or robe required. It’s a simple concept: draw a picture in brush strokes and then watch as it slowly disappears – it can have a significant affect on people who find loss of control stressful.
For many people, stressful schedules and busy days translate to an aching body. But after a huge day of meetings, ferrying the kids or a combination of both, it can be tough to get off the couch and make it to a massage therapist. The Blys app allows you to organise a certified massage therapist to come to you. They bring everything and fit around your schedule, making this the perfect way to unwind on your own terms
Lifesum is a nutrition and calorie tracker. There are essentially two ways to use it: track the food you’re already eating, or follow along with their meal plans. Choose from a variety of diet plans that best suit your lifestyle and the goals you’re trying to achieve.
Lumosity is a brain-training app that feels more like a game. It has a tracking system that hones in on your strongest mental areas verses the areas you could improve – memory, focus, concentration, speed, reaction, creativity, analysis. Have fun and get smart! Lumosity offers a free version and a membership, which unlocks an improve personal analysis report and more games. This is definitely a good app to kill time productively.
Recolor is essentially a colouring book for your phone. Choose from a variety of templates and colour them in. It’s a great way to relax and get creative. Bonus: you can wind up with some cute art designs!
8fit is kind of like an all-in-one personal trainer, nutritionist and coach from your phone. It features a variety of different worksouts depending on the kind of intensity level you’re after. It coaches you along the way by walking you through each workout routine. It also has custom meal plans that don’t forget to be fun and tasty as well as healthy.
Reflectly brands itself as a “Journal for Happiness” – and it can definitely be that! If you’re the kind of person who is in their own head a lot, expressing yourself through writing can be very therapeutic. Reflectly is a cute app to help you do just this. It’s fitted with a mood tracker, average weekly ratings, and personalised motivation content. Reflectly is basically a friend for your phone.
There are a lot of good health apps out there, but the best health apps are the ones that allow you to maintain balance in all areas – work and play, physical health and mental wellbeing. Choose which ones you need the most, whether that be for food, stress or sleep. The modern world is a truly wonderful place – when else in history have we been able to curate a personal wellness programme from our own pocket?