6 iPhone Apps to Improve Your Health on the Go

Health AppsAs a traveling health IT consultant, it’s hard to factor in extra time to improve your health. Just ask Chris Freise, an Epic implementation specialist who says consulting life was good for his wallet, but not his waistline.

“I was staying in hotels, sleeping in a different bed each night and eating a lot of fast food,” Friese recently told the Isthmus newspaper.

Inspired by his own travel health challenges, Friese, along with his brother and a friend, developed UpDown Fitness, a mobile app that offers customized workout routines based on a user’s body specs and fitness goals. It's one of hundreds of wellness and fitness apps available on your iPhone to help you manage your health while on-the-go.

To find the best apps for your individual needs, read the online reviews and ask for recommendations from your physician or friends. In addition to UpDown Fitness, here are five up-and-coming apps that could help you improve your health without taking valuable time out of your schedule.

For more polite awakenings
Did you know that the phase of sleep you're in when your alarm clock goes off affects how tired you feel when you wake up? Waking from deep sleep rather than light sleep is more likely to leave you feeling disoriented and groggy, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. That's why the Sleep Cycle App uses your iPhone's microphone or accelerometer to analyze your movements to determine what sleep phase you're in. It then wakes you up during your lightest stage of sleep with a gentle, half-hour "Wake-up Phase" that helps you start your day with the most optimum energy level.

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For digestive issues
When you have an unpredictable schedule, you may not be able to figure out what specific factors are causing unpleasant bodily issues. If you experience consistent gastrointestinal issues such as gas, bloating or diarrhea, the mySymptoms App can help you uncover problem ingredients, food sensitivities and specific triggers. Simply record your daily diet, medications, exercises and environmental factors, as well as your symptoms, and this app will synthesize straightforward graphs and charts that illuminate patterns between your lifestyle and symptoms that may otherwise go undiscovered. MySymptoms even creates a journal that you can export as a PDF to bring to your next doctor's appointment.

For heart health anytime
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For aging Americans, this alone is reason enough to keep a careful watch on vital signs like your heart rate. This free app, designed in MIT's Media Lab, uses the latest smartphone technology to measure your heart rate by analyzing the light reflected from your face as you look into the camera. When used in a well-lit environment, the accuracy of Cardiio is within three beats per minute of the traditional medical pulse oximeter. Cardiio also provides information on how to interpret your heart rate as well as how it relates to your overall well being.

For medication regimens
Pill Reminder, an app from Drugs.com, combines a powerful pill-identifying capability with a reminder system for taking your pills, vitamins and supplements. Pill Reminder is designed with an intuitive, straightforward interface that lets you easily create customized pill reminders and personal medication records. Packed with helpful features, including a complete list of your medications, this comprehensive pill management system gives you access to a built-in database of pharmaceutical information, including dosage, side effects, drug interactions and pregnancy safety.

For a more restful slumber
Most people know quality sleep is essential for maintaining overall health. If you crave quality sleep without pharmaceutical aids, however, Relax Melodies provides a variety of relaxing sounds and melodies, and it's also full of helpful information on brain waves, meditation and concentration. Not only can you select from a wide range of sleep sounds, but you can layer sounds over one another to create a customized sleep mix. Features include more than 50 ambient sleep sounds, tips for better sleep habits and a customizable timer system.