Health related apps are the next big thing for smartphones.

There are hundreds of apps in Google Play, iTunes, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry World - it would take too long to comprehensively review. Here are some free ones for most platforms that caught my eye and seem to do what is promised but no endorsement is intended.

A word of caution first – almost without exception free apps will nag you to buy the paid ‘pro’ version and there is nothing wrong with that as long as the free app does what is promised. At least it gives you the ability to try before you buy.

Many integrate with facebook or social media to allow you to share your exercise experience and collaborate with others.

If readers wish to recommend an app please leave a comment.

Runners

Most apps use GPS to overlay your walking, running, cycling or jogging onto a map (make sure it can use the off-line map in your smartphone) and calculate distance, time and expended calories. Most have a pause feature and some have integration with social media. Most allow sessions to be saved.

Runtastic

Endomondo Sports Tracker

Sports Tracker

Caledos Runner

MapMyrun (also MapMyRide)

Runkeeper

The pro versions may have music, social media integration, audio prompts and connection to heart monitors etc.

Heart rate

Most of these apps require you to place your finger over the camera to determine the heart rate. Not as accurate or perhaps consistent as a dedicated device but handy at the end of your exercise session.

Heart Rate

HeartRate count

HeartBeat

Calorie Counters and food information

These are generally more on-line and off-line reference guides that show food information. It can be hard to find Australian equivalents i.e. Vegemite versus Marmite or brands but can be enough to help you avoid eating the ‘wrong thing’

Calorie Counter by FatSecret (food info, diary to track intake and activity diary). Has a supermarket brands section.

Diet Planner has some additional food details like fat, cholesterol, protein etc.

Weightwatchers is a well-known weight management organisation and the app follows their points system. Requires a Weightwatchers Online and eTools subscription but the app is free.

Food Additives has a lookup table for more than 300 additive numbers. Not perfect but a start.

And some interesting ones

Think F.A.S.T. provides stroke information and awareness of symptoms.

Foodie shows restaurant penalty notices from the NSW Food Authority – not hungry now.

Emergency Kit is a database of all your medical information. Conforms to ICE (In case of emergency) standards.

In case of Emergency – similar to above with SMS alerts to trusted persons.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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