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There's an App for That! Health and Fitness Edition

Hey everybody, Jenn here from the Illinois Communications team. So, you know that saying "live by the sword, die by the sword"? Yep, that was me today ... one second I was hot on the trail of an invisible pack of riders in spin class and the next second I was on the floor self-diagnosing an aggravated sciatic nerve via the WebMD app. (I verified that later by tweeting a doctor of course.)  There's an app for everything these days! Here are some of our favorites to keep you fit from head to toe, and help you out when you're not feeling so hot. 

Apps to keep you fit

LoseIt is one of my favorite apps to help you lose weight. It tracks exercise too! It's free and works via the web and via iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. There are online challenges to motivate you, and the built-in database contains hundreds of food items so that you can track all of your exercises and calories very easily. It keeps a list of your favorites foods, and you can add your own recipes. It's pretty awesome. If you get lax on tracking, you can set it to remind you to log your foods. It's also dynamic - if your goal is to lose weight, it will start to decrease your cals as you start to lose pounds, so that you stay on a steady path to your goal.

Other favorites: MyFitnessPal is another great food and fitness tracker, and iMapMyRide lets you track your bike rides and share them via social media.

Apps for your brain

Brain Trainer by Luminosity -  the free edition starts out by asking you your mood, and how many hours of sleep you got. It then gives you your lesson plan for the session and focuses on improving things like your reaction time, memory, and attention. The games are simple enough but really get you thinking. It's fun to compare your scores day to day, and it's a great pick-me-up if you've been hunched over a desk for hours. It'll track your Brain Performance Index (BPI) for you as well as different functional areas like speed, memory, attention, flexibility, and problem solving so you know which games you might want to play more often! Keep those brain cells active!

Other favorites:  Enigmo/Enigmo2 has beautiful puzzle games where you control nature to get droplets of water to their final destinations.

Medical Apps

WebMD - I'm sure doctors love the fact that we're all running around diagnosing ourselves via Apps these days, but this App really is useful for learning more about medical conditions or checking symptoms. Of course, I'm not advocating using this INSTEAD of going to a doctor but if "something hurts" and it's not an emergency, go ahead and use the symptom checker. You can even tap on an area of the body and it will ask you questions and narrow down the possibilities. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it provides peace of mind, especially while waiting for a call back from the doctor.

Besides the main App they also have an app for those living with chronic pain, a baby App, and a Magazine App with healthy recipes, quizzes, and more.

What are some of your favorite apps for health and fitness? Let us know in the comments!

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