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The Best Tools to Help You Achieve Your Health and Wellness Goals
Ah, the start of each new year: so many possibilities, so much hope.
We start off making resolutions, full of good intentions, and yet by the end of January most of us have let our goals fall by the wayside.
In fact, only about 19% of people actually keep their resolutions.
But if you’ve resolved to make healthier decisions, you don’t have to feel discouraged. With a little help, you can achieve your health and wellness goals.
We’ve rounded up the best apps and services to keep you on track this year.
Studies have shown that frequently monitoring your progress increases your chance of success when it comes to goals. If you’re looking to make cycling, running, or walking a habit, Strava is the best app for tracking your progress. It allows you to connect with friends and share your stats, too, which is especially important since publicly reporting or recording progress has an even greater effect in improving your chances for success according to the American Psychological Association.
The best part? Most of the features are available for free.
There are plenty of great apps out there for keeping track of your intake and logging calories, but we find Calory one of the easiest to use (and nicest to look at!). It helps you log your food and water intake, track your macronutrients, and set daily calorie goals to help you try to stay within your limits. Its design lets you monitor your stats in simple visual graphs plus it also integrates with Apple Health.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. If one of your goals is to let go of stress, giving meditation a try should be at the top of your list. Out of the meditation and mindfulness apps, we like Headspace because of the sheer number of exercises they offer. The app helps you learn how to relax and achieve calm over time, so that you can reach balance in your everyday life. They offer mini meditations you can do mid-day, as well as longer guided meditations to help you focus on your breathing and unwind at the end of the day or even help you fall asleep.
Do you know what’s in the food you eat? It may surprise you. If eating better is on your list for this year, consider downloading Fooducate. This app lets you scan the barcode on packaged foods so you can make informed decisions before buying. It even grades items based on their health and nutritional value. This app is especially useful for people with diabetes or food allergies.
We spend a third of our lives sleeping – that’s how vital sleep is to our wellbeing! Getting a good night’s rest also helps you keep your other health goals, such as weight loss. Sleep Cycle lets you use your phone to measure the quality of the sleep you’re getting. It can also wake you gently when the app determines you’re in the ideal light sleep cycle for waking. And for anyone tired of default alarm tones, Sleep Cycle lets you choose a song from your iTunes library as your alarm.
Yoga is one of the best things you can do for your body. For non-practitioners, though, it can seem a bit intimidating. That’s why we love Pocket Yoga. This app lets you learn and practice anywhere, anytime – even without an internet connection. No matter your experience level or preferences, you’ll find a class or series for you. This app also offers a comprehensive pose dictionary, so you can learn the correct posture, alignment, and benefits of every pose you try.
Couch to 5K, or C25K, is the best app for getting ready for a race. If you’re not a runner and want to sign up for your first 5K or longer race, this app has fine-tuned its system to help get you there over nine weeks. It’s designed to gradually increase your stamina and fitness through three training sessions a week. It also offers other custom courses and programs.
WOOP, which stands for “Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan,” bills itself as a “science-based mental strategy that people can use to find and fulfill their wishes.” It encourages you to approach decisions with more mindfulness. By prepping you to think of both the positive outcomes and obstacles involved in goal setting and planning, it helps you focus on the why and therefore more easily achieve your objectives.
Your health insurance app
Going to the doctor is an important part of a commitment to being healthy. Instead of skipping your annual checkups, make this the year you prioritize preventative care. Check to see if your health insurance provider has an app, and download it to have easier access to claims, cost estimators, in-network providers, and appointment scheduling.