The Best Health and Fitness Apps: Types and Features

As incredible as it may seem, there are 200 health applications released every day. People are becoming more aware of their health and want to keep and manage their data, as well as receive recommendations and insights on the go.

If you’re interested in fitness app development, there are lots of areas you could consider: various physical activities, nutrition, and self-care, to name just a few.

We researched the most popular apps for running and you can see the results in our article about the best running apps. We also developed a fitness app ourselves − SmartRun, which tracks performance and makes recommendations based on heart rate parameters.

Since there are so many health-related concerns, one can only imagine the diversity of mobile applications on the market. To design a unique product, it’s best to discover which best health and fitness apps attract the most users worldwide.

Developing the best health and fitness apps

Physical Wellbeing

People want to maintain both physical and mental health, and they can check many aspects of each with the help of an app. Keeping food diaries, consulting coaches, or developing better sleeping patterns − all these are available at your fingertips with the best fitness apps for Android and iOS.

Health Measurements

HealthKit and Google Fit are homegrown applications for iOS and Android. They include basic health records and support integration with related apps. The main purpose of these systems is to collect data and make it easily accessible via any connected device. For users, it’s not about having a digital repository but rather about the opportunity to analyse and share valuable details of their physical and mental state.

Based on the data given by these body measurements health apps, developers can create more accurate and personalised solutions for people to improve their fitness practices or dietary habits, as well as receive better care in the case of illnesses.

Sports and Workout

Fitness activities possess a lion’s share of the fitness app market. As health-related apps show significant growth in general, apps dedicated to workouts account for nearly three-fourths of this success. Interestingly, solutions for weight loss are among the most profitable, especially in the US where a full half of the population wants to become thinner and weight-loss programs are a lucrative business.

MadAppGang’s own app for runners, SmartRun, will be available on app stores within a few months. Working with fitness experts and up-to-date research, we discovered how a human body reacts to physical activity and designed SmartRun to be an AI-powered personal running coach and assistant. The app lets users know which heart-rate zone they’re in and when to change zones.

Here are some of the most popular digital fitness programs around the world:

Fitbit

More than 25 million people own smartwatches produced by this company. With over 27 million monthly users, Fitbit was estimated in 2018 to be the best fitness app for iOS and Android in the US. Using Fitbit for a year costs $39.99. The app provides audio and video coaching for running, walking and other bodyweight workouts. Users can select sessions from various coaches and for different activity levels.

Fitbit app

Source: Fitbit

MyFitnessPal

Massively popular worldwide, MyFitnessPal allows users to track their calorie and macro intake and input any physical exercise completed. It provides basic functionality for free and sells subscriptions for its premium version: for $49.99 per year, users can fully customize their goals.

MyFitnessPal app

Source: MyFitnessPal

8Fit

Just like the previous application, 8Fit contains fitness recommendations along with healthy recipes and dietary advice. It is mainly targeted at people wanting to lose some weight and promotes the service as a path to a game-changing transformation.

8Fit app

Source: iTunes

Sworkit

Sworkit uses a paid subscription model to provide a personalised training experience. Users can choose the type of exercises, the duration, level of complexity, and other parameters. A monthly plan costs $14.99, while a year-long subscription costs $89.99.

Sworkit app

Source: Sworkit

Fit Radio

This application combines training plans designed by professional coaches with playlists made by DJs. Since people tend to add music to their workouts, having lots of mixes which match personal preferences seems helpful. As users progress, coaches cheer them on.

Fit Radio app

Source: Fit Radio

Strava

Strava is a universal tool for those who like walking, running, hiking, climbing, or cycling. The program identifies and tracks all these kinds of activities and provides users with a system of challenges. Users can set goals and pursue them while being motivated by a community of Strava users.

Strava Summit app

Source: Strava

Down Dog

There are plenty of mobile solutions for yoga including Down Dog, which offers personalised plans for different levels. The app is very flexible; users can choose the type of yoga, the time to spend on workouts daily, and the practice area they want to focus on. Music, which accompanies the training process, matches user breathing patterns.

Down Dog app

Source: iTunes

Nutrition

Because losing weight is such a widespread goal, health and fitness app developers have been delving into all manner of nutrition issues. With an app, people can get updates on which diet they should follow, how much water they have to drink, and how many calories they should consume.

Here are some of the popular fitness nutrition apps to improve eating habits:

WaterMinder

Adequate hydration levels is a key aspect of physical wellbeing. WaterMinder calculates personal hydration needs based on the user’s weight, activity level, and the outside temperature. It’s free for Android users and costs $4.99 for iOS. The program synchronizes between all iOS devices including wearables and notifies people about how much they need to drink with cute waterdrop emojis.

WaterMinder app

Source: WaterMinder

Lifesum

Lifesum has been awarded as app of the year multiple times. To date, it’s the most complex program for healthier eating. There are meal plans for various types of diets. To access these, users have to pay $9.99 per month or $44.99 per year.

The trick of this fitness and nutrition app is that it includes a very impressive number of functions, provides workout recommendations along with meal plans, offers a calorie checker and a food database, educating consumers on a given product’s nutritional value.

Lifesum app

Source: Lifesum

Fooducate

This app is focused on creating a community-powered food database. People can search for particular products inside the program and leave comments about them. There are also recipes with calorie information provided by users themselves.

Fooducate app

Source: Fooducate

Eat This Much

Many nutrition applications are targeted at people wanting to lose weight. Eat This Much represents a solution which simplifies a way of choosing and preparing meals. Users specify their preferences, schedules, and budgets and the system calculates a balanced diet plan for them.

EatThisMuch app

Source: iTunes

YouAte

The mindfulness trend brought forth the concept of mindful and intuitive eating. Among similar applications, YouAte seems to be the one best aligned with such an approach to nutrition. The app acts as a meal diary and motivates people to think about why they want a certain food and how they feel about their meals.

YouAte app

Source: iTunes

Medications

Nearly 70 per cent of Americans and 40 per cent of Australians take meds on a daily basis. For those who take two or more prescription drugs per week, managing the process can be a real challenge. To help address this, there is a wide array of solutions prompting users to take their medications on time. At MadAppGang, we developed Secure My Health. It’s a tool which helps doctors check on how their patients are following their prescription plans.

Here are some more examples:

MyTherapy

This app is a simple pill reminder with notifications, reports, and family sharing. The program is partnered with a European scientific research company to improve healthcare with the help of user data.

MyTherapy app

Source: MyTherapy

Medisafe

Medisafe provides personalised reminders and drug interaction warnings. The schedule data can be easily shared with a doctor and/or family members. The app has a user base of more than five million and also partners with select drugstores to offer discounts.

Medisafe app

Source: Medisafe

Period Tracking

Many women appreciate having apps to keep track of their periods. Such applications send notifications about the menstrual cycle and can help plan pregnancies. In 2019, Apple Watch became the first smartwatch to include a menstruation app.

Let’s take Clue as an example of a period tracker:

Clue

This mobile app helps women easily track their period and get insights about their physical and emotional state. The Clue project also features an educational website with information about different aspects of the menstrual cycle. In the app, users can track their mood, pain level, and other parameters.

Clue app

Source: Clue

Sleeping

Sleep deprivation or other sleep problems can bring all health and wellness efforts crashing down. A person can maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly, but it means much less if they don’t sleep properly or enough. A good night’s sleep can maximize training performance, boost overall health, and reduce the risk of many illnesses.

Here are a few popular sleep tracking apps:

SleepCycle

Many people experience sleep issues and wake up feeling tired. That’s why tools which analyses sleep cycles, and wake users at the right time in that cycle, is so popular. SleepCycle is basically an improved alarm clock which tracks sleep stages.

SleepCycle app

Source: SleepCycle

Sleepio

This app utilizes the science of circadian rhythms and provides users with a virtual expert to give insights about sleep patterns and how to improve them. It can help people stay refreshed after waking up or aid those who struggle with insomnia.

Sleepio app

Source: Sleepio

On-Demand Fitness

A whole bunch of applications act as intermediaries between users and fitness services. Whether people want to schedule gym sessions, yoga classes, or other exercises, they can book it via an app. There are location-based solutions for particular cities or countries, for example, the fitness on demand app Esquared functions in Australia.

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Mental Wellbeing

When it comes to staying healthy, caring about your mental state is just as vital as caring about your body. Thankfully, science-based solutions for improving the inner state and emotions are a dime a dozen. There are applications which help users deal with stress and anxiety, aid in relaxation, or help them stay motivated.

Meditation

Meditation techniques have their roots in ancient times but it seems that nowadays meditation is practised more commonly than ever. Many mobile apps offer pre-recorded meditation sessions along with mood, sleep, and other health-related data tracking.

The best apps in this category are the following:

Headspace

Headspace’s service is backed by science and clinical research on meditation and is centred around the philosophy of mindfulness. There’s a free basic package for beginners and a paid subscription which costs $12.99 per month. In the subscription, users have access to guided meditations on various themes, exercises, fun animations, and much more.

Apart from being widely praised among the best health apps for iPhone and Android, Headspace is the most commercially successful wellbeing project on the app market.

Headspace app

Source: Headspace

Calm

This app pursues the goal of making meditation and relaxation easier for people. It includes soothing sleep stories, gentle stretching exercises, and relaxing music. Spa centres in some US airports are partnered with Calm and offer special deals to users.

Calm app

Source: Calm

Motivation

Finally, to maintain wellbeing at every level people need to stay motivated at every stage of their lives. There are apps which are ready to help here too. They can keep track of life goals, cheer up users, and even provide alerts upon the suspicion of psychological problems.

Here are a couple of apps for better mental health and motivation:

Happify

The philosophy behind this app is that being happy requires improving some life and mindset skills. In this app, people define their happiness score and in return get interactive recommendations and mental exercises to increase the number of positive emotions they experience.

Happify app

Source: iTunes

Sanvello (former Pacifica)

This is more of a meditation app but it’s strongly focused on reducing stress and anxiety. It tracks users’ moods and overall health and provides insights from psychologists.

Sanvello app

Source: iTunes

Grateful

Scientists have been researching the link between the feeling of gratitude and overall health. It is not only believed but proven that keeping a gratitude diary makes for greater determination and enthusiasm. The Grateful app is a simple and colourful journal where users detail what they’re grateful for.

Grateful app

Source: Grateful

Is There Any Room for New Health Apps?

It may seem that existing applications have it all covered: people can perform any fitness activity via a smartphone, track their heating and drinking habits, and gain insights about any mental health issues inside an app.

However, we see the market overflowing and new solutions are emerging all the time. To stay competitive a health-related app should, before anything else, be based on actual and up-to-date science.

It should encrypt user data securely but at the same time offer flexibility when it comes to sharing that data among devices and between family members or medical workers. Even the best health apps for Android and iOS sometimes lack this balance and aren’t adaptable to real life.

While making SmartRun, we noticed that most running apps (and there are hundreds of them) don’t take proven heart rate data as the foundation of healthy running practices.

Similarly to this example, you can find a crucial aspect which is ignored by the majority of apps and create a powerful tool for improving a specific part of human wellbeing. Have you spotted a gap in the market and want to bring your idea to fruition? Reach out to us and we’d be happy to chat about your app idea.