How to find the right health app for you

Choosing a health app that works

Downloading a health app onto your phone to track your progress in regards to fitness can feel like an incredibly promising first step on the road to better health, but how often have you actually followed through and gotten results from using the app?

We’ve come up with some tips to help you find the app(s) that work best for you.

Avoid apps that claim to diagnose or treat a condition

Any kind of app that pretends to be a doctor or physician by diagnosing conditions or a level of fitness should definitely be avoided, or at least taking with several pinches of salt. If you’re looking for a concrete idea of your body’s wellbeing, visit a GP.

Pick an app that makes realistic promises

If you come across an app that’s attempting to make you think it’ll have you losing kilograms in days, or something similarly fanciful, that should be a red flag. Reaching your fitness goals is all about being realistic and pragmatic, not about jumping at the first app that promises you something that sounds too good to be true.

Research the developers

Find the name of the developer in the App store, and do some research of your own. Find out how reputable/well-known the developers are, whether they’ve developed any other apps, and how well those apps have been received. See if the app is endorsed by any health professionals, or at least if any health professionals were consulted during the development of the app.

Give the app a trial period

It would be foolish to find one app and then decide that that’s the app you’re going to use, to the exclusion of all others for the foreseeable future. Use the app for a week or two, and see how you’re enjoying it and if it’s working for you. If not, find another app and repeat the process.

Choose apps that use strategies based on research

Apps that use evidence-based strategies such as self-monitoring, goal setting, cues/push notifications, social support, and rewards are more likely to help you create healthy behaviours, or change unhealthy ones. So try to look for apps that use these strategies to encourage you, as they’ll most likely be more effective than apps that don’t use them.

At the end of the day, finding a good health/fitness app is about seeing past gimmicks and false claims, and finding an app that does what it says on the tin, which is help you reach your fitness goals. Health apps are merely a tool to be used by you on the road to your fitness goals; they can’t do the work for you.

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