Doc Talk #118 – Health Apps

 

 

We talked apps in this show. smartphones and increasing screen time has the potential to eat into leisure time and make us all more sedentary, but they also provide a great opportunity to increase physical activity levels and health.

The Couch25K (‘couch to 5km’) app has kicked off many running careers and helped to get large numbers of people active. It can take you from the couch to being able to run for 30 minutes continuously. A tip from Dr Dan if you’re using this app: make sure your ‘running’ segments are very slow at the beginning (should barely be distiguishable from your ‘walking’ segments), a common mistake is people try to do the running segments too quickly, get disillusioned and end up abandoning the whole program.

(On a similar note, a 0 to 1 mile swimming program is available online here. If you don’t know how to swim at all however, we’d recommend you get lessons first!).

If you’re interested in eating better, calorie counting, food journalling or tracking activity, then MyFitnessPal has more than 5 million foods in its database.

Gamification of fitness and physical activity has become increasingly popular. Fitocracy lets you log your activities and generate points, to ‘level up’ and win virtual trophies. It’s like Facebook for fitness with signficant social elements to the website.

Strava is a perennial favourite of cyclists and runners. Log your runs/rides and challenge defined routes ‘segments’ to win the King/Queen of the Mountain.

Sweatcoin is an app that lets you convert your outdoor steps into ‘sweatcoin’ which you can redeem for purchases such as additional fitness equipment.

The last app we discussed is one of Dr Dan’s favourites and is part of the exer-gaming / gamer-cizing family – Zombies Run! takes you through a compelling and well-produced story line as a runner during a zombie apocalypse. In between story segments on your run, it will play music from your phone’s playlists. Every so often you’ll encounter a ‘zombie chase’ where you have to speed up in order to avoid a horde of zombies.