In the United States, where obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes are the leading health concerns, the significance of staying fit can’t be overstated.
Our physical movements are shrinking by every passing day, which proportionally leads to a greater prevalence of the above-mentioned diseases. The conveniences of technology have made our lives virtually stationary. However, such is the paradox that technology can also help in compensating for the conveniences it provides to us.
Ender smartphones, the most noteworthy placard of modern technology. They offer us many different health applications designed to facilitate our lifestyles and encourage us to maintain our health.
On face value, these apps look great and might help people with their benefits. However, at this current time, no reliable records are available that adequately can provide us with results of using these health apps. Therefore, some experts contest that these health and fitness apps are not helpful and consider them counterproductive, but the developers and corporations that produce these apps may differ.
In this article, we will try to play the role of advocate of both points of views and then you can decide about the benefits of health and fitness apps on your smartphones.
Benefits of Health Apps
The proponents of health apps bring up several points to prove the benefits of these mobile applications.
Many are Free and Easy to Use
Most of the software applications available for smartphone users are free of cost and for that reason, this is the first benefit put forward by the ones advocating them. Others may cost just a few dollars, while other applications can be acquired after you join a diet group or health club. With these, the apps will most likely be free, but you will have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to join; however, these will be the best health apps you can use since they will provide you with many tools and recording features not found in free or almost free apps.
As far as the low-cost ones are concerned, you can still benefit greatly as they will help you with your daily workout and provide you with fitness ideas that are otherwise only available to people who can spend money on fitness books and professional consultancy.
All these programs have easy-to-use interfaces, which is different from the free-floating information available on the Internet. This feature of customization makes these health apps handy for every individual user according to his/her level of fitness and health condition.
They Have Unlimited Scope
Many health and fitness apps are not limited to any particular niche and health regimen. This feature makes them very universal in their reach. For instance, there are specific programs only designed to guide and help you with everyday running and then there are others that can facilitate your yoga routine.
This flexibility of use definitely makes them popular among people with a preference for different fitness regimens. From a virtual gym to a yoga studio, these health mobile apps can come handy to implement different physical fitness routines.
Helps in Maintaining Diet Routines
To stay fit, maintaining a healthy diet is as important as a physical fitness routine and sometimes even more and there are apps that address this aspect. The nutritional information regarding your meals can be furnished and there are some which can break down the food you ingest into its nutritional components and guide you in tracking your weight loss mission. Some of these programs are very professional; such as, Weight Watchers, which provides you with powerful software where you can actually point the phone at a food item’s barcode and acquire the necessary information you need to process your diet with..
Provide Best Tracking Mechanism
Have you completed your 10,000 steps today? How often have you heard that? With the help of navigation, mobile apps can perform a fairly accurate tracking of your fitness routine. They can also show you the number of calories burned during the activity. Moreover, you can schedule a complete fitness plan, track it and find your success ratio. There are even apps that can monitor your heart rate.
Downsides of Health Apps
Many people blame these mobile apps for being unproductive and harmful to the efforts of achieving fitness goals. Let’s have a look at the most common critiques on these virtual health applications.
Lack of Precision
Health apps are often criticized for their lack of precision and inaccurate information and this criticism is not uncalled for. For instance, some researchers most of the apps that calculate heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels use sensors that are not manufactured and assembled to find out these measurements. They say this information is unproven, unreliable and therefore can’t be used for any inference.
No Involvement of a Healthcare Expert
The exclusion of healthcare professionals is a USP of many mobile apps, but this same feature is also criticized because unaided and unassisted use of health regimen can prove to be counterproductive.
Lack of Regulation
Another issue which doubts the benefits of health apps is the lack of regulation associated with them. Clinics, physical fitness centers, and physicians, in general, have to comply with the regulatory policies of the FDA, HIPAA, and other regulatory agencies. But mobile apps are not required to undergo that strict and necessary checklist, which makes their use untrustworthy. Developers are not liable if anything goes wrong by acting upon the advisory information provided by these apps.
According to a research article published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, only three percent of the top 100 apps used to gauge blood pressure are designed by different healthcare agencies and rest of them are developed by coding engineers and developers. This free flow of health apps without any regulations is only giving rise to more inaccurate medical data.
Compromise of Confidentiality
Doctor-patient confidentiality is an important part of healthcare practices. It is imperative to maintain them for the peace of mind of patients. But unfortunately, health apps are not bound to maintain any such thing. Even though many health apps clearly mention that they maintain complete confidentiality of the user’s personal information, but the opposite has been found to be true on certain occasions.
As per research study conducted by an NGO, nearly two-thirds of 43 analyzed health apps leaked the personal details in the form of dates of birth and other medical information.
From the above discussion, it can easily be deduced that the use of mobile health apps can be beneficial sometimes. But relying too much on them and excluding professional counsel can also make them perilous with their use.
Research these health applications before you download. One good way to determine how good they are is to read their reviews. For the ones where you have to join a club or health organization, you will most likely be using a much more reliable health program; hence the saying:“You get what you pay for!”