Top 10 Health Apps for 2015

As we get closer to 2015, I have no doubt many of you will be contemplating making 2015 the year you get fit / lose weight / go to bed earlier / drink more water or just generally look after yourself better. Here is my list of the top 10 apps for populating your smartphone with this year to help make your resolutions happen. 

You may find that many of them work really well with the BTBS New Year's Resolution Health Plan. Don't feel you have to install them all in one go and take up all the healthy habits at once. Instead spread them out over a couple of months or weeks so that you can sustain your resolution long into 2015 to avoid surrendering your goals in February. Remember, its more about a gradual 'revolution' rather than 'resolution'.  

1. MyFitnessPal 

This app has been on my list of top health apps all the way through my journey. It's kept me on track with the help of its many features, such as the food diary, recipe builder, water tracker, weight and body stats tracker and the community support element. It's the place I go to check in on my nutrition and gain motivation whenever I feel myself getting lazy or slack with my eating. I owe this app a lot.
My Fitness Pal

The app's appearance has changed quite a lot over the last few years. It's more streamlined for rapid logging with features such as barcode scanning and a memory of which foods you typically add at the same time to form a meal meaning I no longer have to remind the app that I had brown rice with my Chicken Tikka recipe or that I had a side salad alongside my spicy bolognese.  
My Fitness Pal

It's keeps you on track with your goals as you log by flashing up whether a food choice was high in fibre, protein or vitamins, or whether that slice of Yule log has just tipped you over your sat fat and sugar goals for the day. I love the big centre button in the app for quickly logging exercise, weight, water, food or a status. There's also the matter of the new MyFitnessPal newsletters and blog, 'Hello Healthy' (accessible through the app and website) which is always packed with recipes, features and workouts. Definitely make this the first app you download to get you started on your goals!

2. Daily Water

We all know that water has countless benefits for your health, yet many of us do not drink enough of it. I guess it's because its plain tasting, or because we don't want to run to the toilet every five minutes - or simply because we forget to drink it!

The Daily Water app won't increase your bladder's capacity, or spice up the taste of water, but it can at least remind you to pick up a glass and glug. It's also help you keep track of how much you've downed. 

In the meantime, you can always try flavouring water with fresh fruit, herbal teas, or frozen fruit ice cubes and just consider the frequent trips to the bathroom a good reason to get some extra steps clocked up on your fitness tracker. 

3.Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

It's 1.30am and your in front of Netflix (still) binge watching the latest box set... you know it'll hurt the next morning when you're up at 7am for work. Make it your goal to go to bed earlier and wake up when your body is ready to (no, not at 10am). 

Instead this clever app detects when you're in the lighter stages of sleep and will sound the alarm within a set window of your ideal time (say, 15 minutes before your alarm). You'll feel so much better for waking up just a little earlier during the light stages of sleep, than if you try to wake up later when you've slipped back into another deep sleep cycle. 

That'll explain why the snooze button makes me feel so much worse...

4. Weilos

This app is the go-to place for weight loss and fitness motivation. Users post their before and afters and their Non-Scale Victories while cheering each other on an earning 'health karma' for working out and eating well.

5. MapMyFitness

Whether you run, walk or cycle, this is a great app for tracking your routes, speed, duration, distance and calories burned. Perfect for anyone who enjoys and outdoors workout, or even for busy mums walking their children to school or pushing a stroller to the shops.

6. FitBit

Is a FitBit on your Christmas list? You'll be wanting this app on your phone to sync it with. You can also link it up with MyFitnessPal so that you get a real-time update on your activity levels and how many calories you have left to munch on for the day. As well as providing you with a visual representation of how active you've been and how well you've slept ,this app allows you to set silent alarms where your FitBit One vibrates) to help you wake up in the morning, which is far easier than waking up to harsh sounding phone alarms.

7. MisFit

Prefer the MisFit Shine or the MisFit Flash over the FitBit? This will be the app you need. As with the FitBit app, you can link it up to MyFitnessPal. You can also set an alarm similar to the one in the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app, which will wake you up as close to your alarm time as possible during the lightest stage of your sleep.

8. Kitchen Stories
Kitchen Stories

Looking for healthy recipe inspiration? Kitchen Stories is an app that lets you browse recipes with photographed step-by steps and videos. You can even filter the results by the amount of calories in the recipe and the preparation time.   

9. Sugar Stop Challenge

Looking to cut down on the sweet stuff? This app encourages you to go 21 days (or more) without eating a particular sugary item, such as cakes, biscuits, sweets, or a fizzy drink... or maybe be really brave and cut it all out at the same time. Personally I would recommend gradual quitting, so for the first 21 days, ditch fizzy drinks and replace it with water, then for the next 21 days, keep this up but quit eating from the office biscuit tin.
Stop Sugar Challenge

To help you when you hit the 'panic' button on the app, there are audio tracks (dubbed as 'hypnotherapy' s sound new-age-y) that will talk you down from really needed that pesky Cadbury's mini roll that the kids left innocently lying around.  

While I don't believe in hypnotherapy, I do believe in the power of taking 5 minutes out to really think about what you're about to do. The power of mindful eating is stronger when you have a really clear picture in your mind of why your doing this - preventing diabetes is mine.

10. Glow 
Is your goal this year to boost your fertility? The Glow app offers period and ovulation tracking and lets you monitor factors relating to your fertility, such as cervical mucus levels , basal body temperature, pregnancy test results, ovulation test result, supplements taken, mood, and symptoms. Taking all this data, the app then gives you the percentage chance of conception for that day.    

This also a community area, lots of polls to take part in and daily 'insights' personalised to your logs and data. You can also sync the app to MyFitnessPal, FitBit and MisFit trackers.

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