The Health and Fitness Smartphone Apps for You

Health App - myfitnesspal

Some WUSTL students use MyFitnessPal to track diet and exercise as a way to promote health.

Since 2005, anyone with access to the Internet could attempt to diagnose an illness without leaving home. WebMD marked a milestone in healthcare technology that has been duplicated and adapted in the decade since. Today, there is a seemingly unlimited supply of websites one can log onto in order to find medical advice.

Physician and scientist Daniel Kraft discussed this phenomenon in his 2011 TED Talk, “Medicine’s future? There’s an app for that.” Upcoming innovations will allow for seamless communication between the doctor and patient. Not only will doctors have the ability to utilize robot technology for remote procedures, but individuals can also take advantage of new gizmos and gadgets to take control of their health.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, less than one-fifth of United States adult smartphone users have at least one health app, but many more students take advantage of the hard rectangle in their pockets. In fact, half of a 50-person undergraduate population surveyed at WUSTL actively uses apps to follow their fitness. The apps that are most pervasive on campus are MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, and Charity Miles:

MyFitnessPal by MyFitnessPal.com (Price – free): As one of the highest-rated health and fitness apps in the iTunes Apps Store (known as “Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal”) in addition to the Google Play Store (“Calorie Counter – MyFitnessPal”), MyFitnessPal acts as an all-in-one health tracker. The app’s ability to integrate social media with more than 350 various types of cardio and weight-training exercises gives students everything they need for their exercise regimen.

RunKeeper By FitnessKeeper, Inc. (Price – free): Also a strongly-rated app, RunKeeper (“RunKeeper – GPS Track Running Walking Cycling” in iTunes and “RunKeeper – GPS Track Run Walk” in the Google Play Store) keeps students active by pushing them to personal milestones when running, walking, and biking. It also integrates with 70 other apps and services, including MyFitnessPal, “to get deeper insight into your overall health,” according to their description. RunKeeper’s creators know what their users want.

Charity Miles By Charity Miles (Price – free): Why not donate to charity while exercising? By just downloading Charity Miles and choosing a charity, users can help the organization raise $1 million by walking, running, or cycling. No money comes out of any user’s pocket.

These three health and fitness apps seem to be popular among those who are active. If these apps are too complex, an app to consider is “Moves” by ProtoGeo, a very simple app that counts the number of steps taken each day. In addition, “Moves” provides minutes cycled and miles ran as well as the user’s location.  Students can even connect phones wirelessly to their shoes with “Nike+ Running.” Soon, they will be able to connect their devices to any article of clothing.

With Generation Y as the first group to take full advantage of the digital age, it is evident that college students are proactive when tackling their fitness ventures. With the ability to track data from caloric intake to hours slept, one can track fitness data more easily than ever before.


Adam Lowenstein can be reached at adamlowenstein@wustl.edu


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