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Welcome to the Health Defence Blog - a blog about health, wellness and a healthier you. Brought to you by the Health Defence team at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, you'll find up-to-date information on a range of topics from what's in your food to the latest advice on e-cigarettes!


Guest blogger: Anna Wignall - CHSS Health Information Editor

January 8, 2017

Happy New Year! Have you made a New Year’s resolution? Let me guess, was it to lose weight or get fitter and healthier? Get started with our guide to some of the most popular fitness apps!

Every year these are two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. So if your idea of a new you for the New Year includes getting fitter then you might want to check out some tried-and-tested fitness apps on your smartphone to help keep you on track. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, walk more steps in a day, or make time for a seven-minute morning workout in your living room, fitness apps can be a great help.

They are ideal assistants for health, fitness, and weight-loss resolutions because they are always with you and they can be pretty personal. Fitness isn’t something we can take care of in just one day. It requires daily habits and lifestyle changes, and a few little nudges in the right direction from your mobile phone might make all the difference.

If you are new to the whole world of health apps and fitbits though, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the masses of apps out there ranging from diet and calorie counting apps, sleep and meditation apps, fitness apps, fitbits, smart watches and activity trackers. So we’ve suggested below some of the more popular ones to consider:

NHS Couch to 5k
A good place to start if you want to improve your health and fitness is NHS Choices ( which offers a range of programmes from getting-started to strength and flexibility videos. One of their many apps is the popular (and free), Couch to 5k programme; designed to get you off the sofa and running 5km in just nine weeks.

My Fitness Pal is one of the best known and most used fitness apps around. It’s an easy-to-use step and calorie counter and includes a database of more than 5 million foods, a barcode scanner and healthy recipe ideas.

Fitocracy gives you free workouts for any goal and experience level and allows you to view your progress and get support and motivation from an online community forum.


Strava is a hugely popular app that tracks your runs or cycle rides to reach your personal best. It allows you to view your activity and compare your times with others to maintain motivation.


Note: this is not an extensive list and simply a guide to some popular options, in no particular order. CHSS does not endorse any particular smartphone app.

As well as apps, we should probably mention the wearable fitness devices like the hugely popular Fitbit. These are designed to automatically track, for example, your physical activity, sleep patterns, mood and calorie intake. They come in the form of wristbands, watches and earphones and can be a good option but they do come at a cost. However, you may not be aware that there is actually a Fitbit app and you don’t need a tracker to use it. The app can count your steps, track calories, log weight and record other health information such as blood pressure and glucose levels.

Most of the online tools and apps are free, easy to use and can be accessed on a smartphone, whether Android or iPhone (many have website versions too!). So if you feel your new ambitions may already be slipping away, these apps might help you stay on course and get set for a new healthier lifestyle for the year ahead.

***Disclaimer: always seek medical advice before starting a new diet, exercise regime or medication. The information in these articles is not a substitute for professional advice from a GP, registered dietitian or other health practitioner.

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