22 Jul 5 Free Health and Wellness Apps to Get (and Keep) You on Track!

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Staying in shape with kidney disease is an important aspect of your health. Exercise will keep your kidneys strong and is proven to reduce high blood pressure, a leading cause of kidney failure. While you should always talk to your nephrologist before beginning a new regimen, these smartphone or iPad apps can help you plan and monitor your exercise routine. Let us know if you have any other suggestions we should add to the list!

  1. Getting motivated is half the battle. With the app Balanced, you can set goals to stay focused on your exercise habits. You can start by setting a reminder three times a week to take a walk.  This app can track how often you’re meeting your goals and send you reminders if you’re getting off track.

  2. If you’re walking, running or cycling, one app you might consider downloading is Strava. Strava is a new spin on the old-school pedometer. This app provides key data on your exercise routine such as distance, pace, heart rate and calories burned. It will also provide a running clock and GPS tracker. You can connect it to your FitBit or other exercise tracking gadget. Strava can track your progress over time (weeks or months).

  3. You may have heard your renal dietitian say that keeping a food diary is an excellent way to monitor your potassium, sodium or fluid intake. But, who has time to keep a food diary? Even if you do have time, remembering to bring a pen and paper with you everywhere you go can be a hassle. Try downloading the app Lose it!, which is a top-rated nutrition and diet tracker. You can set weight, hydration or nutritional goals, and then document the food and drinks you consume by scanning the barcode or selecting the food from its built-in database of grocery items and popular restaurant meals. You can also filter through the database and set a dietary plan for yourself. This app is a useful resource if you and your dietitian are working on a meal plan.

  4. You will always need a rainy day backup plan. Sworkit is an app that is like the YouTube for video workouts. There are four main categories: strength, cardio, yoga or stretching. You set the amount of time you want to work out. The app will then provide work out videos that match your requests. Doing simple exercises indoors is a great way to stay fit without having to face the outdoor elements. Think 8 Minute Abs, but the 2016 version!

  5. Finally, getting a good night’s sleep is an important aspect of your wellness. If you’re not sleeping well, how are you supposed to get motivated the next day? Studies have shown that people who sleep less usually have faster kidney function decline. Using a special technology to monitor your breathing throughout the night, the app SleepCycle can provide a detailed sleep analysis for you to help improve your sleeping habits. In addition, the app will find the optimal time to wake you up, based off when you’re sleeping the lightest within a 30 minute window of your wake up time. Pretty cool!