Can health apps really improve your health
Tuesday 4 July 2017
There are so many health apps available, but do they really help to improve your health?
Apps are effective ways to get health education, advice and support, share your goals, and talk to or compete with other people who can inspire you with their experiences.
Apps give you greater control over your health and wellbeing, but their success is inevitably down to your drive and determination to utilise them fully, follow their advice and work with them to get the most out of them.
Here we look at some of the health reasons people use apps, to understand more fully their use in improving people’s health and lifestyle.
Popular health apps
- Improve your fitness
To progress and maintain fitness is achieved through consistent, small steps that over time develop into a habit. An app is the ideal fitness companion and motivational tool.
There are a multitude of apps for those who are beginning their fitness such as Couch to 5K which aims to get you active and starting running, to My Fitness Pro that acts as a mobile personal trainer at your convenience, to Map my Run that records your work out details, including duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and route travelled on an interactive map whilst also allowing you to share this information with friends and family.
Apps can not only help you to improve your fitness but also they can make your activity more fun and sociable. For example, an app that counts your steps and compares your progress with friends in a league table can act as an entertaining way of encouraging you to walk further.
- Healthy eating
Whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain a healthy eating plan or drink more water, healthy eating apps can help you stay motivated, track your progress and find inspiration.
There are calorie counting apps, apps that provide healthy eating ideas and menus, apps that offer advice when eating off restaurant menus and those that track how much water you are drinking.
- Lose weight
Weight loss apps can help you to achieve your weight-loss goals. You can create a personalised weight-loss plan where you set your individual goals, track your progress and share your journey with others.
Sleep is very important and you need the right amount to help restore and repair your body and maintain health and wellbeing. Sleep apps can help you to go to bed at the same time every night, track your sleep, and get the right amount of sleep so you feel at your best. They often offer sleep pattern visuals to help you review and understand your sleep and promote a healthy sleep routine.
We all have busy lives but by taking some time out to quieten your mind, concentrate on breathing and hearing sleep stories can help relieve stress, improve your mental health and your sleep. Apps such as Calm offer breathing and meditation advice and track the amount of time you spend being mindful.
- Medication reminders
Medication reminder apps such as Pillboxie make sure you never miss a medication dose again. You simply input your medications and when you need to take them, and an alert will remind you of your medication even if your phone is asleep or you have no network connection.
- Addiction cessation
Apps can help you monitor and quit habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol. They can offer support, reminders and monitoring of your consumption, advice on how best to reduce or stop smoking or drinking and guidance on whether you’re safe to drive the morning after.
- Health screening apps
There are many apps that can educate you about the signs of health problems and also help you to remember to check for them.
For example, breast cancer screening apps make checking yourself part of your routine and help you to learn about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. There are mole checking apps that can help determine if you have a benign or malignant mole.
- Interactive self-management plans for asthma and diabetes
If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or irregular heartbeats, or a mental health issue such as depression, an appropriate app can be useful in reminding you about healthy habits and providing visual representations of your recordings and activity.
Apps allow you to sit in the driving seat and take control of your health.
They have revolutionised how people get personalised information and interact with their health. Apps are helping people lead healthier lifestyles by offering immediate and relevant personal support.
There are countless apps now available and its worth taking some time considering the best app for your own situation. Your doctor may offer advice, friends or family may recommend an app, you can read reviews of apps, and consider apps provided by our healthcare system, Public Health England.
Apps will continue to play a significant role in improving the health of our nation during the coming years.
Mount Stuart Hospital supports apps
Here at Mount Stuart Hospital we encourage the use of apps in helping to improve people’s health. They are useful for patients with many medical problems. Obese people can utilise a healthy eating and activity app that may result in the loss of their excess weight. A sleep deprived patient may be able to understand their sleep patterns better and eventually move into a better sleep routine by using a sleep app. A diabetes patient may benefit from healthy eating reminders through an app and that also monitor their sugar levels.
We are here to support the multifaceted nature of your healthcare. We offer the assessment, diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of healthcare needs. Our leading private hospital has an excellent reputation for delivering high quality medical treatments and services.