Modern technology devices are often blamed for wasting time, making people less social, and encouraging a sedentary life. While this may be true on some levels, modern technology can also make us more productive, allow us to connect with more people, and help promote a healthy lifestyle. Today, there are seemingly endless apps available that can provide us with more information, motivation, and entertainment than ever before. Here you will find the best health-related apps that can keep you informed, active, and relaxed, simply by using your favorite smartphone or handheld device. Have fun, be safe, and stay healthy!
Best Emergency Medical Care Apps
Winner: iTriage Health
This app is like having a personal doctor, paramedic, and hospital in the palm of your hand. Two ER doctors created iTriage, and Harvard Medical School verifies all the included medical content. You can start out by diagnosing what might be wrong with the symptom checker. Here you can research thousands of symptoms, diseases, procedures, and medications. If additional medical care is needed, iTriage will recommend the most appropriate health care providers located nearby with directions, such as a hospital, urgent care, or clinic. This comes in handy if you are on vacation or in an unfamiliar area. You can also make appointments with select doctors or healthcare providers directly from the app.
By creating an account, you can save personal medical records, procedures, allergies, prescriptions, doctor appointments, and insurance information for each member of your family. There’s also an emergency page with one-touch access to 911, poison control, nursing advice and other emergency hotlines.
iTunes: iTriage Health
Runner-Up: First Aid by American Red Cross
Emergency situations can happen at any moment and knowing what to do can literally be life threatening at times. The American Red Cross is there for you with their official first aid app. There is an easy-to-navigate list of the top emergency situations with videos, animation, and information on what to do. The preparedness section provides emergency advice for everything from tornadoes and wildfires to tsunamis and volcanos. There’s also a fun quiz section where you can test your knowledge on what to do during an emergency. All information is pre-loaded onto your phone, so even when cell service is down, you will have access to the information. The app is also now available in Spanish, muy bien!
iTunes: First Aid by American Red Cross
Best Time to See the Doctor Apps
Winner: Doctor on Demand
When you are sick, there is nothing worse than calling the doctor’s office, seeing if they can squeeze you in, dragging yourself out of the house, and sitting in a waiting room with all the other sick people. Doctor on Demand has solved this annoying problem by creating an app that allows you to speak directly with a doctor using your phone or tablet. Doctor on Demand costs just $40 per 15-minute video/audio visit with a Board Certified Physician. These doctors can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications for a broad range of non-chronic, non-life-threatening conditions. The most common conditions that can be treated include cold and flu, allergies, UTIs, sports injuries, skin rashes, eye problems, and gastrointestinal illnesses. You can also meet with pediatricians, lactation consultants, or psychologists (alternate pricing may apply). While you cannot choose your own doctor, you will get to see one from the comfort of your own home.
iTunes: Doctor on Demand
When you need to make an appointment to see a doctor in person, ZocDoc makes it easier to book it without having to call the office. You can search for doctors (and dentists) by specialty, location, or insurance carrier. The app will show you a list of health care providers to choose from with the appointment times that are currently available. These appointments can be scheduled within the app with the touch of a button. You can also save your preferred doctors, fill out paperwork ahead of time, and read verified patient reviews. ZocDoc will also remind you of future scheduled appointments or remind you that it is time to make another appointment.
Best Remember to Take Your Pill Apps
Remembering when to take your pills can be a chore, especially if you are taking multiple kinds with sliding doses. Medisafe makes taking the right pill at the right time a no-brainer by messaging you when it is time to take your pills. What makes this app brilliant is that if you forget to take your pill, your spouse, parent, or caretaker will then get a message letting them know that you missed a dose. It is the perfect solution for people taking lifesaving medicines or those who have trouble remembering when or if they took their medicine. Medisafe also features a prescription refill reminder and a fun new sound alert that reminds you to take your pills in character voices like Darth Vader or Austin Powers.
iTunes: Medisafe Medication Reminder
Runner-Up: myPill Birth Control Reminder
If you just want to be reminded to take your birth control pills, this app will do just that. You’ll receive daily reminders at the time of day you choose, and it automatically stops during your break days. You can also keep track of your history by logging menstrual symptoms, pain levels, or other issues your doctor will appreciate. Probably the best feature is the prediction function where it will automatically calculate which days you will be on your period to make scheduling vacations and special events worry-free!
iTunes: myPill Birth Control Reminder
Cost: Free with in-app purchases
Best Track What You Eat Apps
Calorie counting is an effective way to lose or maintain weight by keeping track of everything you eat throughout the day. While this may seem like a daunting task, MyFitnessPal makes it easy, fast, and fun to do. By logging in every item consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, you get a much clearer idea of how much food you eat. By setting daily goals, you can make more informed decisions about what you eat throughout the day. The thing that makes MyFitnessPal stand out from the rest is its exceptional barcode function. With over 4 million recognized barcodes, scanning food labels makes it the fastest way to log foods. If you do not have the barcode, you can add foods by searching a database of over 5 million foods. You can also save favorite foods/meals, log your water intake, track your exercises, set goals, and monitor your progress for a complete food intake/outtake assessment. MyFitnessPal connects with other popular fitness devices and apps, such as Fitbit, Jawbone, and Strava.
iTunes: Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal
Runner-Up: Lose It!
Lose It! is similar in its simplicity to MyFitnessPal with a barcode scanner, food database, calorie counter, and recipe builder. However, it is the runner-up because of the paid premium upgrades you need buy for the extra functions. These include tracking features, such as body fat, sleep habits, daily steps, hydration, meal planning, and advanced exercise and nutritional data. Lose It! also provides access to support groups, goal challenges, and connection to other devices through in-app purchases.
iTunes: Lose It! – Weight Loss Program
Cost: Free with premium upgrades and in-app purchases
Best Get Your Butt Off the Couch Apps
You know you should exercise, but getting your butt off the couch is usually the hardest part. C25K (Couch to 5K) is a training program for beginning runners who want to achieve the goal of completing a 5K run in just eight weeks. C25K works by creating a beginning exercise routine that starts with a mix of walking and running while gradually building up your strength and stamina. In just 30 minutes a day, three times a week, you will be running your first 5K in two months. C25K connects with MyFitnessPal, Apple Watch, Spotify, and other apps to make your 5K training as enjoyable as possible. C25K is easy to use and guides you through training with and audio coach that encourages you to achieve goals and not give up. Once the you complete the 5K goal, you can continue training for a 10K and half marathon. This app also integrates with an iPad to use with indoor treadmills.
iTunes: C25K – 5K Trainer
Cost: Free with a pro version available for $1.99-$2.99
Runner-Up: Zombies, Run 5K!
For those who want to train for a 5K, but just can’t manage to tear themselves away from their favorite zombie shows, there is now an app for that! A companion to the wildly popular Zombies, Run! app, this 5K trainer version integrates an adventure storyline with missions to complete while running. There are 25 workouts to complete over eight weeks as you are sent out on dangerous missions to earn the supplies and help save the other survivors by walking and running on cue. As you listen to the story unfold, clear instructions are given about when to walk, jog, run, or stretch. You will almost forget you are working out while those brain-hungry zombies are nipping at your feet. Look out, they are right behind you…run!
iTunes: Zombies, Run! 5K Training
Best Walking With a Purpose Apps
Winner: Charity Miles
Walking, running, and biking on a regular basis can be challenging, so if you won’t do it for yourself, maybe you’ll do it for your favorite charity. Through corporate sponsorship, charities like the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, Alzheimer’s Association, ASPCA, and Stand Up To Cancer can earn up to $1 million. All you have to do is turn on the app, choose a charity, and start moving. Walkers and runners earn 25 cents per mile and bikers earn 10 cents per mile. In order for the donation to count, you are required to share your activity on social media, but who doesn’t want to spread the word about a good cause?
iTunes: Charity Miles
Runner-Up: Walk for a Dog
This app allows you to earn money for your local animal shelter, simply by taking a walk…preferably with your dog! The fun part is you can upload your dog’s picture and profile to keep track of how much each dog has walked and earned for a local shelter. Corporate sponsors provide the donation money, and you can direct those dollars to a shelter of your choice just by taking a walk with your own dog…or cat!
iTunes: Walk for a Dog
Best Find Your Inner Happy Apps
Winner: Daily Yoga
Gone are the days of embarrassing yourself in a room full of yoga masters while trying to achieve downward-facing dog pose. Now you can struggle with beginning yoga poses in the privacy of your own home. Daily Yoga is a coaching program that is suitable for beginning and advanced users. You will learn how to perform more than 400 yoga poses and 50 yoga classes by watching instructional HD videos. Clear voice instructions and soothing music will guide you through each step. You can choose from three workout mode intensities, casual, moderate, or intense, and durations from 5 to 45 minutes. New content is added monthly, so you will not get bored with the same old routines.
iTunes: Daily Yoga – Lose Weight, Get Relief
Cost: Free with in-app purchases or subscription
Runner-Up: Pocket Yoga
Pocket Yoga is a simple yoga trainer that uses cartoon animation to demonstrate poses and exercises. There are three different exercise sets with three levels of difficulty and three different lengths of time. Ocean is a yoga/cardio workout, Desert is a detox and flexibility workout, and Mountain is a power yoga workout. Choose beginner, intermediate, or advanced poses and a 30-, 45-, or 60- minute workout time. Voice instructions guide you on when to inhale and exhale, an important factor that is often left out of other yoga apps.
iTunes: Pocket Yoga
Best Fall Asleep Faster Apps
Winner: Relax Melodies
Approximately 1 in 3 people experiences some form of insomnia every night. So, finding ways to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer are essential to getting a good night’s sleep. Relax Melodies just might be the solution for some of those who suffer. This relaxing app is, at its core, a sound mixer for sounds that can calm a worried mind and potentially help you to fall asleep faster.
Its best feature is the ability to combine multiple sounds for a layered, fuller effect. The downfall of this feature is that you might spend too much time trying to pick the perfect mix of different sounds. Options range from typical sound machine noises, like water and the wind, to unique sounds, such as Medieval flute music, a vacuum cleaner, or what it might sound like on Jupiter…which is strangely relaxing.
Once a relaxing combination of sounds is chosen, you can set the timer from 5 minutes to 4 hours. Favorite sound combinations can be saved, so that you can just choose one and get straight to the business of sleeping. Relax Melodies also features isochronic tones and binaural beats, sounds that are thought to directly affect brain waves and encouraging it to relax, fall asleep, or even concentrate better.
iTunes: Relax Melodies HD – Sleep Zen Sounds
Cost: Free with $2.99 upgrade for full function and no ads
If you are not a fan of repetitive noises that lull you to sleep, then you might want to mix it up with this randomizing sound app. Pzizz can create over 100 billion different sounds that continuously change to keep your brain entertained. A combination of binaural beats, tones, and other sounds can help lull you into a good night’s sleep. There are two modes, sleep and power nap, which include a timer, volume controls, alarm clock, and a soothing voice option that will help guide you through a series of relaxation techniques. While you cannot choose your own sounds, that almost makes it less stressful because you just hit the start button and go directly to relaxation mode.
iTunes: Pzizz – Solve Sleep Problems