The global wellness industry is huge, not least in the UK where it is estimated to reach a staggering £22.8 billion by next year. This multi-billion pound industry is mostly made up of gym memberships, health supplements, and sports equipment – but mobile apps are also starting to play a bigger part in keeping us well and healthy.
The NHS has the calorie checker to ensure you keep your calorie intake under control, while there are also apps such as Smokefree to help you kick your tobacco addiction. However, data shows that approximately 29% of the British population in 2018 made a commitment to lose weight — and over half gave up in just a month!
With so many wellness apps out there, it can be puzzling to know which ones to try out. Fear not, take a look at the ones below to see if any ‘flick your switch’?
Okay, so Pokémon may be primarily a ‘game’. But, this app is also useful for getting people active. 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
In the same way that Pokémon Go helped people become more active, the Harry Potter version can also do so. 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!
If you prefer to be in a gym to get your exercise fix, but 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 NHS app gives you the option to chat with an NHS GP 24/7 via 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.
Of course, it’s not just our physical well-being we should be focusing on. 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 guides chats through group support discussion rooms.
Couch to 5k
This app could be classed as being the old faithful! Nearly everyone who has wanted to improve their health and fitness has heard of the couch to 5k 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.
So, with 2020 quickly approaching, be sure to use your smartphone for aspects of your life other than just texting, scrolling through social media, and making phone calls. 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.