In a Nielsen survey, one-third of Americans said they planned to use smartphone apps to achieve health and weight-loss goals. If that sounds like you, these apps will get you going in the right direction.
Lose It! Weight management apps are a dime a dozen, but few are as comprehensive as Lose It! It works with popular health and fitness devices, such as the Nike+ Fuelband and FitBit Tracker, and offers head-to-head challenges with other users. The basic version is free. The premium version ($39.99/year) tracks a wider range of health metrics, including body fat, sleep, and exercise calories. (Android, iOS, Kindle, loseit.com)
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App A 7-minute workout? Yep, and you’ll work up a sweat, too. You’ve done these exercises before: push-ups, wall sits, abdominal crunches, step-ups, squats, jumping jacks, triceps dips, planking, high knees, and more. A video guides you through each move. The 7 Minute Workout App is free, and no special equipment is required. (Android, iOS, 7minuteworkout.jnj.com)
Sleep Bug Having trouble nodding off at night? This ambient sound machine lulls you to slumberland with your choice of 24 scenes and dozens of music and sound effects. The waterfall scene, for instance, serenades you with sounds of cascading water, to which you can add chirping birds and other effects. The timer and clock let you turn off Sleep Bug at a predetermined time. Sleep Bug Pro ($1.99) adds more sounds, including the airport, city, and “fun horror scene” mixes. (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, sleepbug.net)
Charity Miles Here’s a great way to get fit and do some good at the same time. When you run, walk, or bike, Charity Miles tracks your mileage. The more ground you cover, the more money you earn for your choice of a variety of nonprofits: 25 cents per mile for runners and walkers; 10 cents per mile for bikers. The donations are courtesy of Charity Miles’ corporate sponsors, which include Humana, Kenneth Cole, and Timex Sports. (Android, iOS, charitymiles.org)
TalkSpace Therapy is expensive, but TalkSpace offers a more affordable online alternative. For $25 per week (billed monthly), you can chat with a licensed therapist — that’s 80 percent lower than the average co-pay for in-office therapy appointments, the company says. The TalkSpace network has more than 300 therapists who specialize in a variety of work/life issues. You can message your therapist 24/7, too. (iOS, Android, talkspace.com)
Food.com At the market, steer clear of fat- and sodium-laden premade entrees and instead launch the Food.com app to browse 500,000 recipes, including tasty choices that meet your dietary needs: gluten-free, vegetarian, low-fat, and other options. You can see sales at local grocery stores and instantly add recipe ingredients to your shopping list. (iOS, food.com/app)
Endomondo Some folks just do it. Others prefer to analyze their workouts, dive deeply into fitness stats, and compete with a global community of exercise enthusiasts. If you’re in the latter camp, check out Endomondo, a data-driven free app that uses GPS to track your performance in 40-plus sports, including running, cycling, and kayaking. The premium version ($5.99/month or $29.99/year) is ad-free and tracks a bunch of additional metrics, such as calories burned per month. (Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, endomondo.com)
Zombies, Run! Running can be a little boring at times, but Zombies, Run! livens things up with an immersive audio drama where you play a vital role. For example, when you hear zombies coming, speed up. The free edition starts with four missions, and you can unlock an extra story each week. The pro version ($2.99/month or $19.99/year) offers more than 200 missions. (Android, iOS, zombiesrungame.com)
Traveling with sufficient resources used to mean carrying a lot of books, guides, and other documents, but now you can bring all that information on your portable device. From checking your flight itinerary to finding the best places to eat to sending postcards, it call all be done from your smartphone or tablet. And you don’t have to spend a bundle to have it all at your fingertips.
Kayak makes it easy to search for flights, hotels, and car rentals. And features a packing list maker. Track your flight, convert currency, and check out tours or attractions around your destination all in one app.
Find travel information, customer reviews, and travel forums at TripAdvisor. You may find a bunch of Facebook friends are already on TripAdvisor writing reviews! Know before you go which restaurants and hotels are worth visiting. TripAdvisor posted reviews are delayed for verification, to minimize suspicious content and keep everyone honest. TripAdvisor also alerts the owner or manager of any establishment that receives a negative review.
3. TripIt Travel Organizer
TripIt organizes your itineraries so there is no need to print them out. Just link your email account to TripIt, and TripIt will pick up every confirmation number you receive into your inbox. Whether it is a flight, hotel, or dinner reservation, as long as it contains a confirmation number, TripIt will organize everything into one easy-to-access itinerary. If there are any flight delays or last-minute changes sent to your email account, they will also be updated automatically.
Eat. Drink. Play. There’s an app for that. Where uses the GPS chip inside your smartphone to create an all-purpose tool to take with you when you travel. Walk, drive, or fly, and Where will find your location and give you on-the-spot information on where to get cheap gas, what the weather will be like, movie showtimes, the best places to eat, traffic conditions, or news headlines. Browse the Yellow Pages or the Yelp directory.
Even if you’re not venturing far from home, it’s always good to have a GPS system with you just in case, and MapQuest is the best free app for that. MapQuest makes it easy to find hotels, restaurants, gas stations with prices, and coffee shops at your fingertips. Use the text search option to find less popular locations such as campsites. All locations are labelled along your route to make pit stops easier on the go.
6. Google Translate
Google Translate saves you from not only buying a library of language books but carrying them around, as well. Google Translate offers over 50 languages, from Afrikaans to Yiddish. Type in a phrase or a word, and have it translated on the spot. Google Translate will give you the written translation and the option to hear the phrase spoken. Newer versions of Google Translator Toolkit use human translators to translate entire documents.
7. XE Currency
XE Currency calculates the conversions between more than 180 worldwide currencies. Access live foreign exchange rates, up-to-date currency news, and historical rates. You can also choose to receive email updates with currency rates and news or follow the economic indicators calendar. Use XE Currency to create and track comparison charts and to calculate prices even in remote areas.
Shake up your next great meal, literally. Just give your mobile device a shake and watch nearby restaurants fill your screen like a slot machine. Urbanspoon uses the GPS on your smartphone to pick popular local restaurants throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.
Wikitude turns your smartphone into a virtual tour guide. Point your smartphone camera at a monument, landmark, or street view, and the augmented reality guide overlays user-contributed content onto the image, putting a wealth of information about the view at your fingertips. Wikitude matches your position to the landmarks you point the camera at and tells you about them.
Postcards for a new generation, Postagram turns sending touristy postcards with clichéd phrases into a cool piece of mail for your family and friends to receive while you’re gone. Just take a photo using your smartphone, and the Postagram app does the rest. Postagram prints your photo onto a postcard along with the mailing address and message you provide from your device, then sends it through the mail. Without even doing so much as buying a stamp, you can send Postcards from all over the world.
This story originally appeared on Tecca. More from Tecca: