How’s this for mind-blowing stats: an average American spends around 441 minutes per week on their phones, while an average Australian spends 80 per cent of their waking hour on social media sites and apps.
These figures from comScore and The Nielsen Online Internet and Technology Report, respectively, aren’t just mere numbers, but are in fact incredibly influential.
Technological devices and tools are taking over our lives, quite literally, and we’re not even complaining about it. Take now, for example, surely you’re reading this online. I rest my case!
Since we’re spending all this time engrossed in our technological devices, why not make the most of it and use it positively to boost our fitness and mental mojo?
Here are the three apps I’m loving at the moment – they’re a good mix of fitness, nutrition and motivational apps. Get your phones and out and give your thumbs a workout.
App #1: Whole Foods Market Recipes
Download on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android
Whether you’re cooking with organic produce or rattling through the leftovers in your pantry and fridge, this app will take you through a three-course meal without a glitch. All you need to do is type in the ingredients you have ready in your hand, or search a recipe yourself, to make the most of the app. You can also create your own shopping list, as per the recipes you choose to experiment with for the next dinner party.
Ideal for: Lazy cooks, experimental cooks, and fresh food enthusiasts.
• All recipes come with a detailed nutritional label, whether it’s vegan, low-sodium or gluten-free; a great tool for those who suffer from allergies.
• The “On Hand” feature is most efficient, especially for times you don’t wish to go to the shops and purchase ingredients.
• The app as a great range of recipes, giving you a lot of options to choose from. It also gets updated on a monthly basis, so you’ll never get bored of the same lentil salad.
• Its navigation can get quite frustrating, as it doesn’t feature recipes on the same page.
• The shopping list doesn’t consolidate ingredients. You might see “wholemeal flour” twice if it’s to be used in two separate recipes.
• It’s a US-formulated app, so my Southern Hemisphere friends will find the names of some foods confusing (FYI: cilantro is coriander!).
App #2: SmartRunner
Download on: Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows
This sports-tracking and geo-tracking application measures distance, current, average and maximum speed, calories burnt and the pace at which you performed the said activity. Run, ride, walk, ski, or perform any of the 66 other activities listed in the app, you can track your progress every time you step out of the house.
Ideal for: All kinds of sport lovers who are serious about performance-oriented training.
• These are 66 different activities listed, so if you were curious about calories burnt when walking with a pram (or some other more specific activity), your questions will be answered.
• You will never lose your activity’s track data, as once you have an account, this app will save it all.
• It is an absolutely free app with no hidden costs and zero advertising.
• You can control the music on your phone while using the app. So don’t worry about logging out of the app when trying to change the music.
• You constantly need Internet or 3GS connection for the app to work. Be careful as this might eat up the included data of your plan.
• There’s a voice feedback that prompts every time you meet a goal or hit your maximum speed. This can often get annoying.
• Since the distance is noted via your phone’s GPS tracking device, it might not be one hundred precise at all times. Especially say if you’re bushwalking and your path cannot be tracked by the GPS.
App #3: Live Happy
Download on: iPhone, iPad and iTouch
This happiness boosting psychological app is perfect for days you’re in bed sulking. As the name suggests, the app has features and activities based on scientific research that are guaranteed to improve the mental wellbeing.
You can save a photo album that makes you happy, express gratitude via its direct contact feature, track your mood and analyse your personality on a given day.
Ideal for: Anyone having a rough day or unable to appreciate little things in life, especially those who forget to smile every now and then.
• It really gets you to evaluate what truly makes you happy in life. There is no swimming on the surface here; you have to dig deep within you to get the most from the app.
• There’s a very cool feature where you can contact a person from the address book on your phone and express gratitude towards them.
• Its format is a little childish, especially with the yellow smiley faces scattered all over your phone screen. This can deceive users into believing that it’s not mature enough.
• The app is known to experience some bugs ever so often.
What are you favourite fitness, nutrition and motivational apps?