Need to monitor steps, sleep cycles or diet? There’s an app for that

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Good habits inform good health - we’ve known that since “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Taking that philosophy into the 21st century is as easy utilizing the ubiquitous smartphone. Here are a few apps you’ll want to download right away.

Calorie Counter: There are a lot of options to keep track of meals, from diet cards to simple portion control, but using a calorie counter app the information available and the ease of doing so. A good calorie counter has a large database of common foods, and lets you add your favorites, so the math adds up and there’s no guesswork. Additionally, many apps break foods down into their nutritional values - this way, you can easily determine if you’re getting too much of something (like saturated fats) or not enough of something else (like Vitamin C.)

Step Tracker: Most smartphones come with rudimentary step trackers, but there are many more advanced options out there - some even set reminders about getting on your feet and moving around. Since apps can track your habits, a good movement tracker can set goals for your fitness, so you’re not just getting the motions in, you can actively improve your health by following a program. Want even more? A smart device like a watch can track many exercises and whether you’re standing enough during the day, something that is vital to good health.

Sleep Monitor: A good night’s sleep is a huge part of health (see page 25 for more) but how can you be sure you’re getting restful sleep? In many cases, seniors are getting enough sleep time, but still feel groggy the next day, due to complications from discomfort, health issues or even an older mattress. A sleep tracker app can work with your smartphone to monitor things like movement or breathing (or when paired with a smartwatch) vitals to give an advanced picture of your sleeping habits, and how to improve them. Most apps have a small fee attached, but a good night’s sleep is definitely worth a few extra dollars.