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6 apps that can help contribute to a healthy, balanced lifestyle and help manage and prevent chronic illnesses.

Date

01/11/2021

Written by

Airnow

A healthy lifestyle is about more than just proper nutrition and consistent exercise. Getting enough sleep, taking care of your body, mind and managing things like medications and doctor’s appointments also play important roles in staying healthy.

Not to mention the importance of taking care of any chronic illnesses or diseases that you may have.

We are now entering an era where apps can genuinely make a big impact on helping people develop a healthy, balanced lifestyle in a variety of ways. Let's explore 5 different apps that try to solve 5 different problems related to health.

  1. Sleep - Sleep Cycle

Sleep is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. Most of us need 8 hours of sleep a night — and most of us are getting nowhere near that. So, anything the best sleep apps can do to help us pinpoint why we're not getting enough sleep is a step in the right direction.

Sleep tracking apps grew in popularity in 2020 with the stress of the pandemic keeping people up at night, and it appears they've been able to keep up the interest. In Q2 2021, Sleep Cycle saw a growth in downloads of over 16.3% across Android and iOS.

Sleep Cycle takes a scientific approach to waking you up at just the right time to ensure you get optimal rest. This is done through using your smartphone’s accelerometer and other sensors to record your sleeping habits.

  1. Nutrition - Myfitnesspal

It’s all too easy to eat unhealthily, especially when there's a wealth of tasty (but not-so-healthy foods) surrounding you. This is great for your taste buds, but less so for your weight and general health. While some may have an iron will when it comes to their food choices, the rest of us simply don’t and need some extra encouragement. And, as the best calorie-counting app on the market, MyFitnessPal could be the solution.

Whenever you eat anything, you enter it into MyFitnessPal – either manually or by scanning a barcode – and it knocks those calories off your total for the day. Then, when you exercise, you enter the number of calories you’ve burned and it adds them back onto your total. It may sound annoying, but it really works, and you’ll end up wanting to exercise more and make healthier food choices.

In the last year (from October 2020 to October 2021), according to Airnow sources, daily downloads for the Myfitnesspal app increased by more than 70% on Android.

  1. Fitness - Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer

Physical activity or exercise can improve your health in more ways than one and, if you're not doing it, your body will start to feel the consequences.

Of course, when it comes to fitness, there is no one app that is the best, as each person has their own favourite type of workout. Notwithstanding this, Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer is excellent for entry level fitness enthusiasts who want to fit a quick workout into their daily routine.

Each workout and exercise is demonstrated by a professional trainer and can be targeted at any major muscle group. The app even utilises videos so that you always know what to do. With everyone doing much less outside activities, fitness apps boomed in 2020, and this is reflected in Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer: downloads increased by 141% across Android and iOS in that year.

  1. Mental health - Headspace

Health isn’t all physical. Looking after your mental health is just as important as nutrition, exercise and sleep. In fact, they all work together, and contribute to a holistic, balanced lifestyle.

Headspace has many different features, however it's best known for its entry-level meditation courses. If you're ready to move on, you can also find more advanced level courses, and even an excellent selection of Sleepcast’s - audio tales that stop you tossing and turning and help you get to sleep at night. Headspace has been a rock for many people going through difficult times during the pandemic, but it seems to have caught on for the long-term, with the Airnow Data platform showing that downloads for Headspace have continued to grow by a further 34.5% in Q3 2021.

  1. Managing chronic health conditions - Joint Academy

Now, more than ever, apps are playing a bigger role in the managing of chronic health conditions. It’s easy to forget about such apps when you haven’t got any chronic health problems, but these apps are doing a great deal to help people improve their quality of life.

One example of an app that is doing this incredibly well is Joint Academy.

Joint Academy launched in 2014 with the goal of improving treatment for osteoarthritis. The company offers an alternative to waiting in line for face-to-face physiotherapy, and solves the problem of patients being steered towards "high risk" and "expensive" operations, without the chance to try simpler treatments first.

During the pandemic, the platform's user base grew exponentially, with almost 50,000 people joining Joint Academy since April last year, compared to 15,000 during its first six years in business. It is now the most common first-line treatment for chronic joint pain in Sweden. According to Airnow Data sources, DAUs jumped by 28.7% during 2020 alone.

  1. Prevention - UM Skin Check

In a similar vein to apps that help manage chronic health conditions, there has also been a rise in apps that can help with the prevention of illness.

Over the past few years, developers have created smartphone apps that can help users monitor moles and lesions for any signs of progression to skin cancer. Such apps have been noted by NHS bosses who have consequently pumped an extra £20million into pilot schemes such as skin snap apps aimed at speeding up the diagnosis of cancer.

The University of Michigan has launched a free app, UM Skin Check, that guides users through a full home skin check exam. This app also offers the opportunity to create a mole library. This will enable people to compare and track any skin changes over time.

As you can see, not only are apps contributing to a healthy, balanced lifestyle on a day-to-day basis, they are now entering into a new era in which they help with the management and prevention of longer-term, chronic health conditions.

We are watching eagerly at the health and wellness category to see how the space grows over the coming months and years.

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