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7 must-have apps to help smash your health goals

Fit man using smartphone apps

Want to get fit, eat mindfully or sleep better? There’s an app for that! Dietitian Melissa Meier downloads the best health apps to support your health goals.

With more than 300,000 health apps on the market, you’re spoilt for choice. Some apps, however, offer unqualified advice or unrealistic food or exercise plans — so we’ve sifted through the app store offerings to bring you our top seven picks for 2020.

1 An app to help you move more

The Heart Foundation Walking (free) app will help you reach your daily 10,000 steps — and beyond! This nifty app tracks your steps and offers you a little friendly competition, with daily and weekly leader boards. It lets you join walking groups to keep up your motivation. Just 30 minutes of walking a day is all you need to help cut your risk of heart disease and stroke by 30–40 per cent.

2 An app to help you sit less

Did you know that people who regularly sit for long periods of time have a 25 per cent greater risk of earlier death? It’s serious business! Rise & Recharge (free) by Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute can track your sitting habits — plus it gives you a gentle reminder when you’ve been sitting for too long!

3 An app to help you shop smarter

Think of FoodSwitch (free) as a supermarket companion that helps you make healthier choices. Developed by The George Institute for Global Health, the app lets you scan products while you’re in the supermarket, instantly providing recommendations for healthier alternatives. You can also filter the ‘switch’ to focus specifically on salt, fat, energy, sugar or even gluten.

4 An app to help you sleep better

Sleep Cycle: Smart Alarm Clock (free) analyses your sleeping patterns and gently wakes you up when you’re in your lightest sleep phase. Rather than feeling groggy after being woken from a deep sleep, this helps you feel refreshed upon waking. You simply set an alarm wake-up time window, and the app does the rest. Sweet dreams!

5 An app to help you read food labels

For people who have coeliac disease, this app is a game changer. The Coeliac Society of Australia Ingredient List ($9.99) is a comprehensive guide that shows you how to spot gluten on food labels. It allows you to look up individual ingredients and tells you if they're gluten free or not — super handy when you’re doing the groceries!

6 An app to help you eat mindfully

Most people struggle to recall what they ate for breakfast, let alone what they ate last week! The Ate (free) app helps to strengthen your mindfulness focus by increasing your awareness of what you’re eating. You simply snap pictures of your meals and snacks each day, and document how each made you feel. It’s a great alternative to calorie counting.

7 An app to help you drink more water

Given that water is essential for so many important bodily functions, we’re all on board for Daily Water (free) — an app that lets you keep on top of your H2O intake. Each time you drink a glass, you simply tick one glass off your daily goal of eight glasses. You can track your habits and chart your intake on a graph, and set reminders for smart sipping during the day.

First published: Feb 2020

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