3 Feel Good Health Apps for 2014

After countless hours, days, and weeks attempting to create striped candy combos and trying to clear stubborn jelly, licorice, and annoying chocolate, I felt it was time for a break. Yes, I’m talking Candy Crush. While it’s a great game and can actually teach you some important healthy life lessons, I decided that I needed to explore some other great apps that are out there. Here are three that I found that are great for the mind and body.

1. Momentum Challenge

I’ve talked about my struggle with weight, including the time when I was a kid. Childhood obesity is a huge problem, and the folks at HealthCorps are taking on the challenge of trying to create a new generation of healthy young people. The movement is headed by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife, Lisa. Their mission is to implement an innovative in-school model that inspires teens to make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

About HealthCorps

(source)

Last November, they launched their new Momentum Challenge app at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. One of their team members reached out to me recently to see if I could review the app, and I happily agreed. 

Momentum Challenge was “created to help engage youth to make sustainable and healthy lifestyle choices, by prompting them to accept daily health challenges to improve their physical, nutritional and mental health.”

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The free app is available for iOS devices (will soon be available for Android), and I was easily able to download it from iTunes.

When you open Momentum for the first time, you are prompted to engage in a short user tutorial and to create a user profile. This allows you to connect with friends on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter to support and encourage one another. There is also an option to register your school’s code so that you can engage in healthy competition with peers from participating schools.

The challenges that Momentum encourages you to complete focus on physical activity, nutrition, and mental resilience. Each challenge is worth points, ranging from 5 points to 20 points. You can pick and choose your challenges and add them to “My Daily 5” list.

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The more challenges you complete, the more points you rack up, which increases your momentum reading. You can also earn badges for completing challenges.

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I really like how each challenge is a simple task that promotes healthy behavior. What’s more impressive is the built in social component. I think this is really important for this age group. The fact that teens can engage and share their progress with their friends and peers allows them to build social support, which is key in sticking with a healthy behavior. It would be great if the developers could include support for more social media tools, like Instagram. If participants could document their progress with photographs or even video, that would be a great way to hold one another accountable.

I think that Momentum Challenge is a great tool to help kids and teens start building and maintaining health behaviors. I think it also has great potential to be used in the classroom. I can see endless possibilities for teachers to use this as a tool in their curriculum.

2. React Mobile

React Mobile is a safety app that you can use if you ever find yourself in an unsafe situation. Robb Monkman, React Mobile Co-Founder, was inspired to create the mobile safety application after being held at gunpoint during a home invasion while in college.

You can alert your contacts with an SOS message in situations where you feel unsafe or alert 911 with the touch of a button.

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This app is free and you can download it for iOS and Android.

Once you set up your contact list, they will be sent an email letting them know that you chose them as a contact. If you ever find yourself feeling unsafe, like being followed by a stranger, you can alert them that you are concerned for your safety. This can be broadcast by SMS, email, Facebook, and/or Twitter.

You can also request that your contacts follow you in real time. Situations like walking to your car alone at night come to mind. To use the follow me feature in real time, you must activate the geolocation on your phone. I’ve taken advantage of this a few times while running alone, which definitely provides a sense of comfort. But I don’t keep the geolocation feature activated on my phone all the time, also for safety concerns. So if you know that you’re going to be out and about alone, like running or walking alone at night, I would recommend turning it on so that the app can be used.

I do know that it works because when I was testing it out, I accidentally pressed the alert button and I got a flood of calls from my contacts that were panicked that something was wrong. I suggest watching this tutorial so that you know which features to use when.

3. Fetched Good News

Fetched Good News is an app that I learned about on Facebook. The brother of a girl that I went to high school with developed this app, and I happened to see the link on her profile a few weeks ago. I decided to check it out, and I must admit that it is a breath of fresh air.

I haven’t been able to stomach the television news lately. It’s hard to hear the countless negative stories that are thrown at you in a thirty minute time span. It can be really depressing. I often read about the news online, where I can pick and choose the stories that I want to read about.

The concept of Fetched Good News is that it only “fetches” good news and feel good stories. When you open the app, you see a news feed of the latest feel good stories, and the feed is continuously updated. I’ve been using the app for over a month, and I haven’t seen one negative story. It’s all been positive as promised.

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When you click a news item, you see a preview of the story. You then have the option to read the story in its entirety (you will be directed to the original web site where the story is published).

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If you find a story that you really like and want to save to read again later, you can save it to your favorites list.

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You also have the built-in option to share the stories through email, text message, and Twitter.

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Since the app is new, there is also an option to report bugs and offer suggestions for improvement.

Fetched Good News is available for iOS and Android. The cost to download is 99 cents, which I think is an excellent exchange for a good laugh, a heartfelt smile, and warm fuzzies that you will feel inside.

I was asked to review the Momentum Challenge app and React Mobile app. I was not paid for my participation. All opinions are my own.

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