Four Apps to Avoid the Health Lapse

It’s 2013, which means technology is everywhere – iThis, iThat, talking phones, tablets the size of old TVs and more. While our increasing infatuation with the geek stuff is often pointed out as the culprit of our sedentary lifestyles, there’s a bright side, too.

Technology can make reaching your health goal easier, more fun and there’s a social benefit to boot. The following is a list of my top four favorite health apps. Best of all, they’re all free. What’s there to lose?

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you know how important caloric intake is.MyFitnessPal is a user-friendly calorie and activity tracker with a database that ranges from generic store brands to high-end restaurants.

But it’s not just calories. MFP will also track your macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates and protein). While you’re tracking, you begin to realize which foods in your diet are helping and hurting your goals.

Even if you don’t want to count everything for the rest of your life, doing it for a few weeks usually helps people identify serving sizes and better estimate calorie intake of various foods. There is also a large social component. Similar to Twitter, you’re allowed to follow your friends, track your weight, calories and exercise level over periods of months and years (Available online, as well as for Apple and Android devices).

If MFP is the king of tracking nutrition, Fitocracy takes the cake when it comes to exercise. Think of it as the gym junkie’s version of Call of Duty. This video game-inspired app has made it fun to challenge yourself and friends by awarding points for certain exercises. Five chin-ups? 100 points! Swim for 30 minutes? 200 points! You can also race against your friend for badges, such as the “Get Low” badge, given with a squat with 1.1 times your bodyweight.

We all know how addictive video games can be. Fitocracy aims to do the same with exercise (Available online, as well as for Apple and Android devices).

What about when it’s late, you’re tired and ordering pizza seems like the only option? Not so fast. Spark Recipes is unique and focuses on healthy meals, no matter what the occasion. Search by your favorite food, calorie needs, meal type and even preparation time for those busy days (Available online, as well as for Apple and Android devices).

Obtaining a healthy diet isn’t always about making the best choice every time, but rather, a better one. The app Fast Food provides you with a huge database of calorie information for fast food and sit-down restaurants. There is no shame in eating out once in a while, but it’s all about moderation. So if you’re debating between a few options, this app can be a useful tool to decide which entrée satisfies both your palate and your waistline (Available on Apple devices).

Hopefully I’ve provided you with some insight on how technology can actually make a healthy lifestyle easier and more enjoyable. At the end of the day, anything that can keep you excited and motivated to keep making the right decisions at least deserves a space next to Angry Birds.