Health and fitness are one of the
top categories in the app store, and it’s easy to see why these kinds of apps
are so popular.
With many of us struggling to find
the time and motivation to start and maintain healthy habits like exercising
and cooking healthy meals, apps promise to lend a helping hand in what can seem
like an overwhelming task.
In fact, health apps can do much
more than just track calories or give you access to workouts. You can also
organize your health records and prescriptions, track your sleep and activity
levels, monitor and manage stress levels, and even take proactive steps towards
better health by achieving goals like quitting smoking.
Take a look at one of the popular
app stores, and you might feel a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume of
options available. In fact, a 2017 report found that there were 318,000 health apps available on top app
stores worldwide, with a further 200 health apps being added each day.
To help you narrow your search,
here are five of our favourite health apps, in no particular order:
When it comes to overall health,
your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Managing
stress isn’t just about good mental health. Excessive stress can have an effect on your body in other ways, like causing digestive problems including diarrhoea, bloating or constipation, impacting on your sleep, or even having a negative effect on your immune health.
Headspace is a meditation app that aims to help make you happier, assist you
in managing your stress levels, and even help you to sleep better. It uses the
principle of mindfulness, with guided meditations on everything from
productivity, exercise and physical health, through to anxiety and sleep. There
are even specific meditations and programs for kids, so the whole family can
make use of the app.
Best of all, Headspace is backed by
research. A review by the Institute of Health & Biomedical Innovation at the
Queensland University of Technology evaluated 23 popular mindfulness apps using
an expert rating scale and found Headspace to be the top-scoring app. One study found that only 10 days of Headspace reduced stress by 14%, while
another found that three weeks of Headspace increased compassion by 23% and reduced aggression by 57%.
The takeaway? If you’re someone who
would like to learn skills to manage the stress in your life, Headspace can
help by teaching you mindfulness practices.
If you or someone in your household
takes prescription medication, then you’re all too familiar with how
challenging it can be to keep track of your prescriptions, order your
medications, remember to see your GP for repeats, remember when to take the
correct dosage, and keep track of your medication information.
is the app that makes it easy to organise all of your medications and scripts
on your smartphone, tablet, or PC. It uses technology to provide you with a
tool that helps to ensure that you use your medication safely, effectively and
The app’s home screen makes it easy
to see all of your prescription medications, see details of scripts, repeats
and supply left, as well as medication information. Get reminders when it’s
time to take your medication, fill your script and visit your GP for
You can even use MedAdvisor to order your script and skip the queue when you arrive at the
pharmacy. To get started, simply download the app, file your scripts at the
pharmacy, and grab a unique activation code from your pharmacist.
Did you know that nearly 40% of adult patients in Australia experience some kind of inadequate
sleep? A lack of sleep is linked to developing diseases including diabetes, heart disease,
and high blood pressure. Not to mention, not getting enough sleep can impact
our ability to think clearly and make good decisions, our body weight, and, of
course, make you feel tired and irritable throughout the day.
If you’re waking up tired in the
morning, snore loudly, have daytime headaches or find yourself making frequent
trips to the toilet during the night, you could be experiencing something
called obstructive sleep apnea. At Capital Chemist, we offer a sleep service that can help you to figure out whether you’re suffering from this
If you’d like to improve your
sleep, one of the first steps you can take is monitoring how many hours a night
that you’re sleeping, and the quality of your sleep. Sleep Cycle is an app that
analyses your sleep patterns, determines the best time for you to wake up, and
gently wakes you with an alarm clock. While the accuracy of the information
can’t be guaranteed, it can be a good starting point to track your sleep and
work towards improving it over time.
Quit Now: My Quit Buddy
The smoke that’s inhaled from
cigarettes contains substances that cause cancer, heart disease, stroke,
chronic bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema. Most people are aware of the health
risks that smoking poses to not only themselves, but also those around them.
That being said, the nicotine in cigarettes is extremely addictive, making it
very challenging for people to quit smoking.
The good news is that it’s always a
good time to quit smoking and improve your health, and the Quit Now: My Quit Buddy app could help to get you there. The app
provides distractions and useful tips to help you to overcome cravings, as well
as tools to help you chart your progress. It will even send you alerts to mark
your progress and help you stay motivated along the way.
You can also call the Quitline
directly from the app if you need more support, and nominate friends or family
members who you can call in the moments that you’re struggling.
Regular physical activity is
important for maintaining good overall health and minimising your risk of
chronic disease. Unfortunately, Australia’s 2017-2018 National Health Survey found that only 15% of 18-64-year-olds met
the physical activity and muscle strengthening aspects of the guidelines set
out by the Department of Health. Walking might only be one aspect of physical
activity, but it can go a long way to helping you build up your activity levels
over the course of a day.
While the Pacer app has a range of features, it’s primary
purpose is to track your activity levels throughout the day. You can track your
walks, runs and bike rides, and monitor your performance as you work towards
becoming more active over time. Analysing your movement in this way can help
you to identify patterns, for example, days or times of day when you tend to be
most sedentary and motivate you to change your behaviour.
For more information on health apps,
visit the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation’s Healthy Living Apps Guide, or speak to your local pharmacist.