2012 Olympics Shines Spotlight on Mobile Health and Fitness Apps
Dexcom's software is used by the U.S. cycling team to monitor their blood glucose levels at the 2012 Summer Games. "These are early-phase trials to see how it works," Kevin Sayer, president of Dexcom, told the Financial Times. The free Dexcom app allows users to view training videos and follow a step-by-step guide on inserting a blood glucose sensor.
Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile
The U.S. women's cycling team is also using Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile as part of their training to find patterns in their sleep that will help improve restfulness and perhaps improve their race times. Zeo measures deep sleep to see how it affects performance. The free mobile app for Android and iOS works with a $99 Zeo Sleep Manager Pro kit, which includes a wireless headband with a Softwave sleep sensor to send signals via USB to a mobile phone. Users can then track their sleep patterns in an online Zeo account.
Instant Heart Rate
Mobile app developer Azumio offers Instant Heart Rate, a heart rate monitor for the iPhone. When users place their finger over the handset's camera for at least 10 seconds, the heart rate appears on the display. A 99-cent Pro version is ad-free and lets users store more than five measurements to their timeline. Azumio acquired SkyHealth and its fitness apps July 20. SkyHealth offers health and fitness apps such as Glucose Buddy, which lets you send blood glucose readings to an online account, and Fitness Buddy, an app that allows users to customize workouts according to muscle groups and track their progress.
In its Android version the app Runtastic from the Austria-based company of the same name has added playback of 3D video showing a jogger's route captured using Google Earth. Runtastic records time, distance, calories burned, speed and geographic elevation. In addition, it tracks exercises via onboard GPS. Apple iPhone users can store their data in their iCloud account. The Pro version of the app, which costs $3.99 for the Android version and $5.99 on the iPhone, can customize a running, biking, walking or skating workout and measure a user's pulse.
Endomondo Sports Tracker
Endomondo's Sports Tracker, which has reached 10 million downloads, uses GPS to track the route, distance, duration and calorie count of a runner, walker or cyclist. The $4.99 Pro version allows people to choose interval programs and view graphs of lap times, heart rate, speed and altitude. Sports Tracker integrates with the heart rate monitors of other apps. In addition, it incorporates social features that allow users to challenge others to meet fitness goals.
FitnessKeeper's free RunKeeper app for iPhone and Android tracks a runner's distance using GPS and compiles statistics at RunKeeper.com to allow users to see whether running goals are being met. RunKeeper integrates with apps such as SleepRate, which measures a person's sleep based on a heart rate monitor device and OneHealthScore, a mobile tool that measures the impact of physical activity on health.
Part of a "gamification" trend in fitness apps, Nexercise awards virtual medals to users when they reach goals, such as losing weight or completing an exercise routine. For meeting goals, users can receive actual rewards from healthy food companies and clothing retailers. Users can challenge others through the free app to lose weight and complete workouts.
Garmin's 99-cent Fit application for Android and iPhone enables users to upload information from their workouts to theÂ Garmin ConnectÂ Web application. There, users can compile statistics from walking, running or cycling. A premium LiveTrack feature, for $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year, allows others to track the position of your mobile phone on a map.
Fitbit is a popular app that lets iPhone and Android users track their food intake and activities throughout the day. It keeps track of calorie goals and the amount burned. The free app syncs data with the Fitbit Wireless Tracker connected to a PC. Users can also link data with their personal health record in Microsoft HealthVault.
As its name suggests, iTriage allows people to identify symptoms that may occur and find out more about medical conditions. Users can also search for doctors, medications and medical facilities. The free app uses GPS to direct patients to doctors' offices. It integrates with parent company Aetna's open-data platform called CarePass, which allows users to manage their health across multiple applications with a single sign-on.