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Health and Fitness Apps

Many of the new trends in today’s world involve technology. People have many ways to track their fitness and overall health, but using apps on a smartphone is rising in popularity. Many of these health apps promote healthful living, including workouts, and give their users motivation to live a healthful lifestyle.

What is an “app”?

An “app,” which is short for “application,” is defined as a self-contained program for smartphones designed to fulfill a particular purpose, which in this case is to measure or provide health and fitness. Many people own smartphones and apps are a way to receive the greatest benefit from this technology.


Breaking it Down: Health vs. Fitness Apps

Health Apps

Apps referring to health can include food diaries, hospital charts or connection to a wearable device. Many people find a great benefit from being able to use a food diary on their phone to track what they are eating.

This helps people have a better food recall to report to health-care professionals, see what they are eating each day and ensure they are meeting their dietary requirements. A lot of food diaries use data from a database to calculate how much each person should be eating. Some of these apps even can give recommendations for meal plans.

Downloading your hospital chart, such as MySanfordChart, can help patients interact with their doctors and look at medical records right from their phone. When your wearable device, such as an Apple watch or Fitbit, is connected to your smartphone or other device, you are able to see your heart rate and how many steps you have taken that day. Overall, health apps help people become more aware of their health and how they are living each day.


Fitness Apps

Fitness apps are a new type of technology that many people are using to receive or measure their daily workouts. By following along with a fitness app, consumers are able to know how many calories they burned during a workout, how long their workout was and what exactly they did during that workout.

Some of these apps will give consumers an option as to what type of workout they would like to complete that day: cardio, yoga, strength training, etc. Then, once consumers decide what they would like to do, the app gives them step-by-step instructions on how to complete that workout.

Some fitness apps even will provide consumers with news in the fitness industry and tips on how to live a healthful lifestyle. This helps give consumers a community within fitness and helps them become more educated on their health and fitness journeys.


Health and fitness apps seem to provide several benefits, but the most consistent benefit is motivation. Health and fitness apps can help consumers stay motivated to live a healthful lifestyle because the source of that healthful lifestyle is right at their fingertips via their smartphone.

Smartphone health and fitness apps also have the ability to facilitate behavior change due to their components of goal setting and progression checkpoints. They can help people achieve their fitness goals in a timely fashion and have the ability to make people feel confident.

The Takeaway

Health and fitness apps have proven to provide positive outcomes and are easily absorbed by consumers. They help consumers measure their health, track their progress and motivate them to live the most healthful lifestyle possible.



By Katie Rarick, NDSU Dietetic Intern

Reviewed by: Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist


Higgins, John P. (January 2016). Smartphone Applications for Patients’ Health and Fitness.         Retrieved from

Lister, C., West, J.H., Cannon, B., Sax, T., and Brodegard, D. (Aug. 4, 2014). Just a fad? Gamification in health and fitness apps. Retrieved from

Wang, Q., Egelandsdal, B., Amdam, G.V., Almli, V.L., and Oostindjer, M. (April 7, 2016). Diet and Physical Activity Apps: Perceived Effectiveness by App Users. Retrieved from   

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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