Quantified Self: 12 of the Best Self-Tracking Apps for Health & Wellbeing
Self-knowledge through numbers.
A global movement is emerging called “The Quantified Self“. A passionate tribe of people interested in self-tracking and personal informatics. Through the use of web and mobile apps, advanced band-aid sensors, and special-purpose watches – These self-quantifiers are gathering data on everything from sleep to the type and duration of exercises performed daily. The end goal? Optimising personal life through data-driven living.
In today’s blog post, I’m going to share with you – 12 of the best self-tracking apps in the health and well-being space. 3,2,1…
1. 80 Bites
What’s the first step to sustainable weight loss? Discovering how much you’re really putting into your mouth! After just one week of using 80 Bites – you’ll learn if you are overeating.
I personally used this app last year to track my food consumption over a three month period. Yes I did look slightly crazy when eating out, and that first date didn’t go too well – however it was one of the tools / methods that contributed to me losing 45 pounds in 2011.
To use it simply tap the screen in rhythm with bites eaten.
Measure your mood every day with a card game and track your daily scores to learn what could be causing your ups and downs.
Hat’s off to Jon Cousins for creating this online tool that helps you take control of your mood.
I have been using this app for over the past month now to see what actions trigger a stabilised mood throughout the day (swimming in the morning, singletasking, afternoon HIIT sessions) and what detracts (email before breakfast, coffee, late nights).
By using the app you can learn how much your mood varies from day to day and optimise your actions/emotions that contribute to your emotional wellbeing.
Moodscope App: Web
Momento is a unique journal writing application that provides a quick and easy way to privately record moments throughout your day.
There is extensive research validating the healing power of journaling for the body and mind. By simply writing for 15 to 20 minutes for several days – you can decrease symptoms of anxiety, and improve your immune function.
You can sync your social feeds (Instagram, Foursquare, Twitter, RSS, Facebook, Youtube and Last.Fm) into your daily journal. All data is exportable.
4. Meal Snap
Camera-powered calorie counting with Meal Snap, an iPhone app that lets you take pictures of your food, and auto-magically provide you with calorie information.
Meal Snap cleverly uses the power of crowdsourcing (leveraging Mechanical Turk) to identify your food, and matches the data to search for calorie information in a nutritional database.
This frictionless data acquisition app truly does feel like magic. Apps like Meal Snap provide a glimpse of what the future of personal analytics is going to look like. (Sidenote: When technology acts like Magic – you know Apple is just around the corner).
Meal Snap App: iPhone
5. Mind Bloom
Mindbloom Life Game is a fun, simple and effective way to improve the quality of your life.
I’m blown away with this app – the game creators have truly taken social gaming to the next level. The goal of the game is to grow the life you want by creating and maintaining a “Life Tree” where the branches represent areas of life that matter to you.
Currently Mind Bloom have a community of 200k+ users who motivate each other to improve behavior, and help inspire each other to reach their life goals. Watch the video above to get an in-depth understanding how this all works.
Forget Farmville this is real social gaming!
How much water have you consumed today?
Waterlogged makes it really easy to hit your goal of drinking enough water each day. Recording your water intake takes seconds. Simply choose the picture of your current water glass and forget it. It doesn’t matter if the glass you use is a 350 ml water bottle, and you’re goal is to drink 64 oz per day. Waterlogged records everything in the original measurement and seamlessly converts both metric and US measurements when you need it.
According to WhatPulse, I have written 5.76 miles of content over the past 3 days.
The app is a simple keys, clicks and mouse usage counter (no it’s not a keylogger) and enables you to collect statistics about your computer behaviour.
These statistics are a basic form of productivity tracking and can even help boost productivity (I’d love to write 10 miles worth of shipped content this week). We all know how being productive helps keep you sharp, organized, and even happy.
Runkeeper enables you to track the time, distance, speed, pace, calories, and path on a map of your fitness activities.
9. Facebook Timeline
Facebook needs no introduction. We all know what it is. However the new timeline feature now transforms all profiles into interactive biographies. The old saying that we all have a book in us (Facebook now have over 800 million biographies in them) is now true and currently we are all (unwittingly?) creating them.
Facebook is positioned to become the go-to hub for all self-tracking data. Almost every app listed in this post can in someway interact with the social network.
The act of social sharing your fitness achievements with your friends can help boost motivation and keep you accountable.
10. Sleep Cycle
Have you ever woken up feeling completely wrecked when the alarm clock goes off, despite the fact that you have slept “enough” hours?
Say hello to Sleep Cycle!
The Sleep Cycle alarm clock is a bio-alarm clock that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you when you are in the lightest sleep phase. The app helps you wake up in a way that you feel rested and relaxed.
To set it up simply place it on the corner of your bed face down overnight (while plugged in for best results – it’s a massive battery killer) and let it do it’s magic.
11. Caffeine Zone 2
Caffeine Zone 2 provides a simulation of caffeine amount and some indications of the psychological effects. It can be used to teach you how to use caffeine wisely and effectively (rather than getting wired!).
The app shows a cognitive active zone, an area of level where most people will feel active, and a sleep zone – an area of caffeine level where most people will be able to sleep.
What I love about the app is it’s warning messages about the coffee you are about to drink…
“Consuming this caffeine will exceed the max optimal level and leave you over the Sleep Level at your current Sleep Time”
Caffeine Zone 2 App: iPhone
12. Stress Check
As of writing this blog post I have a slightly elevated stress level, which according to this nifty stress checking app by Azumio, reflects that my mind is alert and operating at peak performance. It then tells me to take a break soon (with that handy notification – let’s wrap this blog post up).
Stress Check App: iPhone
The Future of Self Tracking
It’s not the data.
The data is merely accumulated to help with scientific observation for optimising your life.
The question is then what should we all be optimising for?
The purpose of our lives is to be happy.
- Dalai Lama
Where does Bodyhack come in to all of this?
Our evidence based fitness app will help you track and self-optimise your progress to getting fit (see our first case study by our founder Julian Hearn). We believe fitness is a key to Happiness.
You can signup for early access to Bodyhack here.