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Digital life: Finding an app that is fit for purpose

In an image-obsessed age of selfies and social media, people are increasingly using the web to improve their health. Katie Wright finds out how the appstore could help you look and feel better

Published 13/02/2016

Body beautiful: apps can give us the motivation and tools to be healthy
Body beautiful: apps can give us the motivation and tools to be healthy

Not long ago, boasting about how many pints they'd sunk, or espressos they'd necked, was the norm, but the modern man is far more enlightened when it comes to health and nutrition.

According to a survey by PhD Nutrition, nearly half of men (48%) have tried to reduce or stop their alcohol intake and more than a fifth (22%) can be found regularly sipping on herbal tea.

Of the 1,000 men aged 18-45 questioned, two-thirds say their health and physique is a "big priority", and almost 80% say they now pay more attention than before to their diet and nutrition.

And social media is partly to blame, with one in 10 admitting that the desire to look good in selfies and online is a motivating factor.

But rather than turning us into a nation of vain, self-absorbed teetotallers, the digital world is actually helping facilitate all kinds of healthy behaviours.

Apps like Headspace for meditation, Sleep Cycle and MyFitnessPal can regularly be found next to Spotify and Facebook on our smartphone screens, and more are launching all the time, for both men and women.

Muamua (as in the "mwah mwah" sound of air-kissing;, which started out as a portal for hair and make-up artists, is now expanding with a wellness category, listing personal trainers, yoga instructors and massage therapists.

"The healthy eating market has grown massively in the past few years and we as consumers are becoming more selective with what we eat. I think that has had a major impact on wellbeing services," says founder Rishi Kumar.

"We are realising how important it is to take some time out for ourselves, that could be with a Pilates session or high intensity workout."

Going one step further, IamYiam (pronounced "I am why I am") offers genetic profiling (via a saliva sample and a £387 fee) to make recommendations on natural therapies - however, the profiling isn't compulsory and you can set your own goals instead.

There's a lot of wellbeing jargon to wade through, but put simply, the app links users with wellbeing practitioners to find yoga and pilates classes and therapies like acupuncture and massage.

Apps are often blamed for eating up our time and destroying our attention spans, but when they bring health-boosting practices to the palm of our hands, they're very good for us indeed.

Belfast Telegraph

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