Next year, the UK’s wellness and fitness industry in the UK is expected to exceed £22.8 billion. The likes of alternative medicine, sports equipment and gym memberships have been engrossing the health market recently and apps for smartphones have taken off to help you achieve your goal. The NHS has a calorie checker app which can help you stick to a healthy calorie intake, while there are also apps such as Smokefree that can help you kick your tobacco addiction. However, recent data has shown that around 29% of Brits made a commitment to lose weight in 2018 — with over half giving up in the first month. So, what apps are available to help us stick to our plans in 2020?
Couch to 5k
The majority of us know someone who has took part in this challenge. It’s ideal for those who don’t particularly have the fitness levels to take on marathons but want to increase their physical ability. Presented by Public Health England, it builds you up gradually with a mix of running and walking so that within nine weeks you should be able to run 5 kilometres (3.1 miles). There’s also a choice of five virtual trainers to help you on your fitness journey and keep you motivated.
Okay, we may think of Pokémon as being primarily a ‘game’. However, this app is also useful for getting people active. Your bones and joints may have a lifetime of wear and tear, with which joint supplements can help. But this doesn’t mean you should just sit back and relax. Games such as this are a great way to increase your movement. The popular game works by individuals needing to be active in the community to progress in the game. According to Sport England, one in three kids in England take part in less than 30 minutes of physical activity each day. This was described by Sports Minister Mims Davies as ‘simply unacceptable’. With games like Pokémon Master, this is a great way to get kids active and taking part in an activity they’d enjoy. It was even found that the original Pokémon Go was also helping to bring families together as parents and children were competing with one another as to who could catch the rare monsters.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
This wizardry game works in the same way as Pokémon Go. For those who aren’t particularly a fan of the Pokémon franchise, this take based on JK Rowling’s creation could be just the thing. It works by users having to complete a certain number of steps in order to open up treasure chests for more loot. Also, as magical creatures and characters spawn on the map in-game, you need to physically travel to move your character across the map. However, unlike the Pokémon take, this game will be able to track your activity without even running the app. Therefore, you’ll be able to track your steps without being synced to the game, and those who like to wear a Fitbit will more than likely agree that this can become a game in itself!
Do you prefer to head to the gym to work out? If so, but you don’t want to commit to a 12-month contract that often comes along with gym memberships, download Esquared. This app works in the same way as Uber in the sense that it allows you to find gym sessions and one-off classes in your area. The benefit of this app is that it’s non-committal and there are no subscription fees. Currently, it’s only available in London and Sydney, but keep an eye out in case it expands into an area near you!
Babylon: GP at Hand
This impressive NHS app allows you to chat with an NHS GP any time of the day or week through a video appointment. Usually, you’ll be seen within two hours once you make your request, meaning that you no longer have to wait weeks for an appointment or attend a walk-in surgery. It allows the doctor to discuss your symptoms and, where necessary, you can show them your issues on camera.
We shouldn’t just focus on our physical well-being, either. Mental health has, rightly so, become a major topic of interest. Campaigns such as ‘It’s Okay Not to Be Okay’ are bringing our mental well-being into the forefront of the attention via the media. However, in the UK, approximately one in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common issues. This American-based app helps anyone who feels isolated discuss their concerns and issues thanks to it connecting you instantaneously to one of its 160,000 trained volunteer listeners and licensed therapists. It’s anonymous, free, and confidential. It also allows you to participate in guided chats through group support discussion rooms.
So, as 2020 creeps closer, make sure you use your smartphone for tasks other than just texting, calling and social media. They hold so much more value to everyday life, and with these five apps — as well as the many more available via app stores — you can make steps to reaching your goals and improving your quality of life.