New Year is a time of change and for many, a time for change. When the year begins again, we feel like we can begin again with it. We can start exercising again. We can start eating and sleeping better. We can get our brain back to work. We can help our body learn to calm down and relax. They're good intentions, all of them, but they also take hard work and concerted effort. Staying focused and staying motivated are key. Luckily we live in an age where technology can help us achieve our goals. Here are the best iPhone apps to help you get started with your New Year's health and fitness resolutions. Give them a try and, once you've built good habits, you can start to ramp things up!
This new year we also have the Apple Watch which includes a heart rate sensor, a built-in Activities app to help keep motivate you to stand and exercise, and a Workout app to help track many different kinds of exercise, indoor and out. Many health and fitness apps also have Apple Watch notifications and extensions, making them even more convenient. If you have an Apple Watch, you have a significant head start on the new year!
1. Breathing: Simply Being
Breathing is essential for life. Without it, we cease to exist. Yet many of us have become so busy and so stressed we've forgotten how to breath. We're short instead of long, shallow instead of deep, absent-minded instead of mindful. Yet simply taking the time to breath deeply, in and out, through our diaphragms, ten times in a row, can calm us, center us, and make us more aware of the world around us. Simply Being takes it a step further, with music, guided meditation, and more.
- $1.99 - Download now
2. Exercise: Pedometer++
Walking and stair climbing are great not only for people getting back into exercise for the first time in a while, but for people with chronic posture issues who need to teach their bodies how to move like a human being again. Yes, we feed on motion as much as food, and many of us are starving. Pedometer++—which includes an Apple Watch extension—is excellent because it's simple and focused. It uses the motion coprocessor and barometer built into modern iPhones to count how many steps you take and how many flights of stairs you climb. Then it makes that information available to you in the Pedometer++ app, in a Today view widget, and in the Health app (if you allow it to be shared). Let it run in the background, get out and walk and climb, and then check your progress any way that's convenient.
- Free with IAP "tip" option - Download now
3. Diet: MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal—and its optional Apple Watch extension—will let you track exercise, but also calories. You aren't just what you eat — you are what you unconsciously eat. Start keeping track of everything you feed your face and you'll probably be amazed at what you see at the end of every day and week. There's a large library of common foods to make entry easier, and if you can't find something, it's easy to add it manually. MyFitnessPal will also help you keep track of your weight, and make projections based on your current intakes. That's some motivation right there. It also integrates with lots of other apps and services. Get it, enter your information, and help it help you.
- Free - Download now
4. Sleep: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
You need a healthy mind to go with your healthy body, and sleep is one of the best ways to ensure it. To put it in nerdy computer terms, all day, while you're awake, you collect information and experience in your brain cache. When you sleep, that's when you write all that information to disk. Once it's written to disk, your brain can relax and you can be ready for a new day. So, you want to get enough sleep, and regular sleep. Sleep Cycle aims to help you with that by ensuring you wake up at the optimal point so that you're rested and energize. Plug it in, put it next to your pillow, and it'll track your movements and sound the alarm at the best possible time. And if you have Hue lights, it'll work with those too.
It doesn't offer an Apple Watch app, sadly, but if that's your preference you can get the excellent Sleep++ from the makers of Pedometer++
- $0.99 - Download now
5. Brain training: Elevate
Your brain is like your body. If you bench press all day, you aren't going to make your calves stronger. So, if you do the mental acrobatics in Elevate, you aren't suddenly going to develop super mind powers. However, you are going to get better at the specific skills trained by Elevate, both on your iOS device and via the Apple Watch extension. That includes reading, writing, speaking, listening, and math. If those are on your must-improve list, Elevate should be on your must-download list.
- Free with IAP - Download now
6. Your favorites?
Those are our picks for the best apps to help you jumpstart your health and fitness in the new year. Now we want to know — what are your New Year's resolutions, and what are your favorite apps for achieving them?