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Must-have apps to keep track of your health

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
(Image credit: Future)

Keeping track of your health can be difficult but technology has squashed your excuses for good. It is as easy as downloading an app on your phone or smartwatch, and you can pretty much track of how and when you exercise. 

Since there is an app for just about everything, it is easy to flit between them and never commit. This results in lacklustre efforts and poor results when it comes to tracking your fitness and health. 

Here are some of the apps we've found work best to keep you exercising regularly, eating well, sleeping consistently and drinking less alcohol. 

Exercise 

Exercise is a biggie and the endless apps make it hard to decide which is the best for you.

The first thing to do is consider what exercise you're interested in doing. If it's a cross section then an app like Nike+ Training Club is a good idea as it incorporates different workouts from yoga to cross-training. You can also customise a training period to get you kickstarted before settling into your own routine. 

If you're looking for something more focused like a running, yoga or swimming app, then options such as Nike+ Run Club, Glo and MySwimPro are all good options because they are specifically designed to train and assist you in the discipline you're focusing on. 

A good option is to have a focused training app for your preferred form of exercise and a more general cross-functional one. This way you open yourself up to trying new things, which is vital if you're trying to keep yourself motivated - and it's better for overall fitness and health. 

Eating

Keeping track or at least being conscience of what you eat has been a struggle since the idea that there are "bad " and "good" foods were invented. While it has become apparent over the years that there is no one answer or solution, it does mean you have lots to choose from when finding what is right for you. 

While food trackers can be an issue for people with a history of eating disorders, others have found them useful in becoming more aware of what they eat through the day. A good option is MyFitnessPal, it has a big database of food so you don't have to work out the calories yourself and is not aimed at shaming you for going over your budget. 

If counting calories is not your thing, apps which inspire you to eat healthier with great recipe options are also a good choice. Plant-based apps like Deliciously Ella, Kitchen Stories and Look and Cook all offer an excellent variety of meals which are suited to different seasons, experience levels and groceries. 

Drinking

This one is a bit of taboo in South Africa, but drinking has been proven to consistently worsen your health. We're not talking about a glass of wine with dinner but rather consistent bottles over a week or weekend binges. While this may not be alcoholism the harm done to your liver and mental state is not great. 

If you would like to cut-back on drinking but need a little help, apps like DrinkControl, DrinkCoach and SayingWhen are all great because they are non-judgmental platforms that look to identify how drinking effects you rather than just being a counter for your drinks. 

DrinkControl will show you how much you've saved by not buying a drink, DrinkCoach gives you access to support from a community on the same path and SayingWhen will identify how drinking harms your overall lifestyle. 

Sleeping

Sleeping, or rather a lack of sleep affects your health adversely. A poor nights sleep causes mood swings, lack of productivity, and over a longer period your health suffers.

There is no quick solution to insomnia but there are quite a few apps that have tried to come up with solutions. Headspace and Calm are meditation apps which have "sleepcasts". These are 45 minute adult bedtime stories which are aimed at helping you drift off. 

Another option is a white noise app called Noisli. You can choose from a range of sounds which best help you relax, from a bustling cafe to rain outside your window. It can also be customised to change throughout the night.

Finally, there are journal apps like Reflectly which offer prompts and help you guide your thoughts so you can empty our your head before bed.