9 Little Known But Useful Health Apps To Kickstart Your Routines

A lot of apps will promise you flat abs or a J.Lo butt in 30 days. They’ll help count your calories, or tell you to go carb-free, or guarantee that they’ll turn you from a couch potato into a marathoner. But what about an actually useful health app that’s not trying to change you? What about something on your phone that will actually help you be a healthier, happier you? Not "skinnier". Not "jacked". Just something that will help you maintain a healthy and more energetic lifestyle, so you will have the stamina to be your most productive self. Well, turns out, there actually is "an app for that."

There are so many health apps out there, and it can be very hard to choose which ones are right for your lifestyle. Especially when you have limited space on your phone, and downloading one more app means deleting, like, all your photos. So which ones are worth it and which will you use once, and then forget about? Below is the ultimate list of little known, but much needed health apps, that won’t only help you in the short term, but will improve you overall. From helping you tackle vices, to making the most of your night's sleep, these will streamline the way we take care of ourselves. 'Cause, hey, we’re adults now (kinda) and we don’t have our mom haranguing us to drink another glass of water, or go outside and get some Vitamin D. I'm not saying these apps will replace our dear mother, but little reminder from our phone can sure do wonders!

Sleep Better

Sleep is arguably one of the most important health factors. And apps that help you fall asleep easier or wake up more refreshed are extremely beneficial to starting the day right. Sleep Cycle alarm clock has been around for a while, but just released an update this November with excellent new features (Now, you don't have to keep your phone in bed with you!). This app tracks your sleep cycles by analyzing your movements and sounds. The "intelligent alarm clock" wakes you at the optimally lightest phase of sleep, so that you feel refreshed. It is one of the most well-reviewed sleep apps on the market today. While it's not as accurate as going to, say, a sleep lab, apps like this will help you become more attuned to your circadian rhythms and more aware of how awesome a good night's sleep can make you feel.

Eat Better

When you have dietary restrictions due to allergies or want to be more health-conscious for personal reasons, you want something that can give you a good overall picture of your health patterns, and also one that can help you make informed choices when your shopping for food and recipes. Lifesum and Myfitnesspal are two popular well-reviewed apps that have just released updates this week and are definitely worth checking out. Myfitnesspal is free and offers you a barcode scanner with an incredibly large food database, a fitness tracker, and many more features. It's great for people who have allergies or are on specialized diets. Lifesum encourages you to choose a lifestyle goal, helps track what you eat, as well as your hydration levels, and gives you feedback and encouragement. It can also integrate with Apple Health and the Apple Watch to give you a more complete picture of your overall health.

Work Out Better

Let's take a break from serious apps, and look into one that will make staying healthy fun again! We've been inundated with pedometers and personal trainer apps, but those can make working out seem like a chore. Looking at graphs of how many steps you take a week will not necessarily make you healthier. So what about trying something a little different? The Dance Party app sure is cheesy, but will help you stay active in a fun way that will boost your mood as well as your heart rate. The app pairs your iPhone with your computer or Apple TV, and acts as a motion sensor tracking your dance moves and calories burned. In true gaming fashion, it also gives you points and can syncing with your Apple Health. You can also have a dance-off with friends, even if they're not at your house. So get moving!

Tackle Your Vices Better

Part of living a healthy life is getting all those little vices we've picked up along the way under control. These health apps that monitor smoking and drinking habits don't want you to be a party pooper — they just want you to become more aware of your choices. Alcohol consumption apps like AlcoDroid will help you party smarter. AlcoDroid helps track your consumption, calculates your blood alcohol levels, tracks the cost of drinks, and will even indicate when you are back at the legal limit of sobriety.

If you're having trouble laying off the nicotine, free apps like Quit It Lite will help you track your progress by showing you how many cigarettes you haven't smoked, the money you have saved, and will remind you of the numerous health benefits. If you don't mind shelling out a little cash, the attractive and interactive app Kwit 2 does all the same things as well as using game design techniques (rewards, leveling up) to encourage the users to quit smoking and stay that way.

Track Your Sexual Health Better

What if there was a comprehensive app that would track all dimensions of your sexual health? Turns out there is. Eve by Glow is a robust app that is "the only tracker that addresses sexual, menstrual, and reproductive health all-in-one." It is so important to understand how your body works and your menstrual cycle (no one likes surprises), so you can get the most from everyday life as well as your sex life. You can even input your sexual activity, track your moods, and analyze any symptoms you might be experiencing. Visualizing all that sexy data is pretty darn cool.

Find Your Inner Calm Better

Life can get pretty hectic sometimes, and having a reminder to slow down can improve your wellbeing dramatically. A super useful app called, fittingly, "Calm," leads you through guided and unguided meditation programs, introduces you to mindfulness, as well as providing plenty of soothing nature sounds. You can even try out some of their meditations here, on their website. When I checked out the quick two minute meditation I immediately sat up straighter, took deeper breaths, and released my knotty shoulders. You can do these bite-sized meditations before bed or on a lunch break, and hopefully meditate yourself even healthier. Happy downloading and be well!

Images: pixabay, Sleep Cycle, Lifesum, Dance Party, Kwit 2, Eve, Calm