When it comes to looking after our health, we tend to think about is diet and exercise. But what if there was something more we could use that could actually make the entire process easier and a lot more fun?

 Well, that’s exactly what I discovered for myself last week!  There are several applications that you can download onto your smart phone which can help you achieve your weight, fitness, health or lifestyle goals, whether that’s to lost weight, get a more toned body, eat more fruit and vegetables, watch your calorie intake or even count how many steps you walk throughout the day and therefore how many calories you have burned!

 Some of the most popular apps out there are Lose It, Calorie Counter, WebMD, Gym Tuck and My Tracks, and new ones are coming out all the time, like POW Health launching in early 2015.  I started using an application called MyFitnessPal to help me lose some excess pounds and then maintain that, especially with Christmas coming up and the tendency to eat more!

 It asked me my details including what I weigh now and what I would like to weigh in five weeks time and it then calculated what my maximum calorie intake should be. Each day, I input whatever I eat including my water consumption and what exercise I have done and the app keeps track of it and gives me an estimate of my weight five weeks down the line if I continue my current pattern!

 Now, I have never been a calorie counter. I enjoy good food, I don’t overeat and so I have never obsessed over calories. So calorie counting was not my main goal when I downloaded this app. My intention was to have fun! And I am very surprised about how much fun the app has made things for me!  I am now more excited to discover new and healthier recipes so that I don’t exceed my allowance. It’s like playing a game!  So I’ll keep doing it as long as I’m having fun! I always believe that if you’re having fun, you’re on the right track.

This is just one app of many out there that are helping thousands of people.  But there are also apps taking things even further by helping people to quit smoking, monitor alcohol intake, and now to record and monitor more detailed medical information.  I came across an article in The Telegraph earlier this month talking about how GPs are going to start prescribing these apps to their patients to help them understand what is going on and take responsibility for their health.

 The article says that under a new government initiative, overweight patients might be recommended apps which track their diet and exercise, provide goals, and offer virtual coaching, while those suffering from health conditions such as diabetes could use the apps to monitor blood sugar levels. There are also plans for an NHS App Store, a bit like iTunes or PlayStore on Androids, where patients can download recommended apps for free to help them improve their health.

 It’s amazing what technology is doing for us these days, and while these apps certainly don’t replace the knowledge of a medical expert, I feel they get us to participate in our own well-being more so that our health is not just our doctor’s responsibility, but ours too.