Need help counting calories? Looking for extra workout motivation? There are mobile apps for that.
Apps can help evaluate food ingredients or measure your heart rate, and newer ones can even track and store activity levels automatically. According to industry estimates, 500 million people worldwide will use a smartphone health app in 2015.
Here’s how apps can help you stay happy and healthy in the coming year:
Providing virtual housecalls: You’ve heard of apps that let you enter your symptoms, search for potential diagnoses, or list pharmacies in your area. A newer category of “telemedicine” apps goes a step further, allowing for personalized, immediate responses from a network of health care professionals. For example, the fee-based Doctor on Demand (full disclosure: This app was co-founded by Jay McGraw, executive producer of The Doctors) connects you to a physician in your community for a 15-minute video chat; the doctor can then help diagnose a condition and even prescribe medication.
Improving sleep: Place your phone in bed (under the fitted sheet, for example), and a sleep app will monitor your nighttime movements and sound a morning alarm in your lightest sleep phase so you wake up more refreshed. Some track sleep history; other apps provide white noise, soothing sounds or serve only to record sleep talkers, so you can play back your nighttime chattering.
Helping you get pregnant: There are basic fertility apps that track your cycle and predict ovulation, while others let you record basal body temperature and mood or send reminders at the start of your fertile window, and even offer daily health tips.
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