health

It is four months into 2014, and there is a good chance that some of us who have set our New Year’s goals to be healthier have fallen off the track a bit. If you are looking to get healthy and in shape, or simply want tips to improve your current routine, we are going to check out some of our favorite health and fitness apps within the Windows Store. So sit back, grab some water, munch on a rice cake, and let us explore the Windows Store.

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Top Fitbit Apps for Windows Phone

Windows Phone Central App Roundup: Fitbit Apps

Many of us took on New Year’s resolutions to get into better shape, lose weight or another fitness/health goal. In pursuing these goals, you may look to the Fitbit line of activity trackers to help you manage your fitness goals. The Fitbit line of devices track your steps, distance traveled, stairs climbed and sleep. The overall Fitbit system helps you manage additional activities that aren't registered with the device, your diet and weight. From the pocketable Fitbit One to the digital display of the Fitbit Force, these little devices are fantastic fitness oriented devices.

While Fitbit has released “official” apps over on iOS, we are still waiting for the official Windows Phone version. Not all is lost though in that Fitbit has made their API available to developers and we have a few capable un-official Fitbit apps in the Windows Phone Store. This week’s Windows Phone Central roundup will focus on a few of the top rated Fitbit apps available for Windows Phone. Hopefully it will not be long until Fitbit releases an official app but in the meantime, these third party alternatives aren’t too shabby.

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Microsoft’s HealthVault is a great resource for managing yours and your family’s medical information. Medical Image Vault is a Windows Phone app that provides access to medical images in your HealthVault account.

It is a convenient way to access this information when visiting the doctor or in cases of emergency. Medical Image Vault is a nice companion app for your Microsoft HealthVault account and the HealthVault Windows Phone app.

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It looks like the Bing team is not yet done with Windows Phone, as at around 3 AM this morning, they pushed out their latest addition, Health & Fitness to Windows Phone 8 devices. The app of course is a mobile version of the popular Windows 8/RT version and so far, it looks great.

However, as with the recently released Bing Food & Drink, this app is in beta. Basically, that means it’s not yet finished, and some parts may not be working. In fact, Microsoft this time explicitly stated this in the app’s description, so you should be forewarned.  Having said that, it’s damn nice, especially if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle in 2014.

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If you have ever had the need to track your moods and feelings, check out the Windows Phone 8 app LiveZen. It is an easy way to log, track and chart your moods throughout the day and reflect on days gone by.

You will need to log into LiveZen with your Windows Phone ID but in doing so, your data is stored in the cloud making it easy to keep LiveZen up to date if you change devices. At first glance, LiveZen is a nice app to let you log and reflect on your moods from your Windows Phone 8 device.

Who knows? With LiveZen, you may finally be able to prove to your significant other that you aren’t always in a bad mood.

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If you have the need to track yours or a family member's medical information, take a look at myHealth for Windows Phone 8. It is a simple, nicely laid out Windows Phone 8 app that will help you manage everything from medical contacts to medications to doctor's appointments.

The app can be password protected and individual accounts can be set up for yourself and other family members or even friends.

myHealth is cleanly laid out, easy to navigate around and is fairly comprehensive on the information it manages.  It is an option worth considering if you need to keep medical information on you, friends or family handy.

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Earlier this week we shared the Windows Phone 8 fitness app 7-Minute Workout with you. Another version was released to the Windows Phone Store yesterday that follows the same concept but with a few more bells and whistles.

7 Minute Workout (no hyphen) adheres to the same philosophy that everyone can find seven minutes in a day to exercise. The app puts together a collection of twelve high impact exercises that offers many of the benefits of prolonged endurance training.  With 7 Minute Workout it's easy to find time in the day to get a fitness routine started.

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Recipes by Ingredients is a Windows Phone 8 app designed to help you find a recipe based on key ingredients, allergies, calories, cooking time and meal type. It's a nice app to help you with your fitness goals by eating right and avoiding foods that may present health issues.

The user interface isn't the smoothest around but the recipe selection is on the large side with over 175,000 recipes for meals ranging from breakfast to dinner to snacks.

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Water Log gets updated adds charts and more

Water Log is a simple way to track your water consumption from your Windows Phone. While we liked the app, there was room for improvement. Improvements that have been added with latest update.

The version 1.2 update for Water Log includes a log of your daily water consumption, adds the ability to generate a chart to view your progress and resets the water log counter each day. You also get optional sound effects and a few performance issues were addressed with the update. All total, the update makes Water Log a very nice health/fitness app for our Windows Phones.

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One benefit of staying healthy and fit during Fitness Month and beyond is being better prepared in dealing with emergency situations that may jeopardize your health and well being. Emergency Kit for Windows Phone 8 is designed to help you make it through the these times of crisis by providing emergency first aid information.

The Kit contains information on how to respond to allergic reactions, snake bites, broken bones and even how to jump start your vehicle. Emergency Kit is a little on the condensed side but has some nice features.

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It's no secret that your heart is an essential element of not only staying fit but also staying alive. Heart Rate is a Windows Phone 8 app designed to measure your heart rate while offering a history of these readings.

Heart Rate is similar to the other heart monitoring apps we've seen over the years. The app uses your Windows Phone camera to record tiny pulses in your finger tip caused by your heart pumping. The pulse or color change is recorded and translated into beats per minute. It may not be the most accurate heart rate monitor but it gets you in the ballpark.

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Chicken Recipes, making cows happy everywhere

Chicken Recipes is a Windows Phone app that delivers a collection of meals featuring chicken as the key ingredient.

I can remember my doctor advising me to eat more two legged animals than four legged every time he reviews my cholesterol levels. It's no secret that part of being fit is having a healthy diet and chicken can be a key ingredient to a nutritional meal.  Plus it makes those Chick-fil-a cows happy.

While this Windows Phone app has potential but left us a little on the hungry side and may have some asking "where's the beef?"

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Juicing it up with 30 Days of Juicing

_30_Days_of_Juicing is a Windows Phone fitness app that guides you through a thirty day program that gradually incorporates high-nutrient ingredients into your diet into juice drinks. The idea being that if you slowly start adding vegetables in with fruits, you will develop an appetite for vegetables.

Even if you don't begin craving vegetables, _30_Days_of_Juicing (yes, the dashes are in the title) offers a wide range of nutritious juice drinks. It falls a little short on tracking the 30 day program but it's a nice reference app to help establish good nutrition during fitness month and beyond.

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Finding the right vitamin source with VitaminWorld

A key ingredient to good health and fitness is a balanced vitamin intake. While there are plenty of vitamin supplements available, many foods contain the same vitamins. VitaminWorld is a Windows Phone reference app that outlines the importance of twelve vitamins and the food sources for them.  It is one more Windows Phone app to help you through fitness month.

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Get water logged with Water Log

The Windows Phone app Water Log is designed to help remind you to drink water during the day. Part of being fit is proper nutrition and part of proper nutrition is drinking plenty of water every day. How much water is "plenty"? Some sources cite 3 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women. Then there's the "8 glasses a day" rule and Bing searches on the subject will find other recommendations and equations.

While opinions vary on how much water we should be drinking on a daily basis, it is important you drink. Water Log tracks your daily water consumption and reminds you to keep drinking. Water Log is a simple, yet effective way to meet your daily nutritional goals during Fitness Month and beyond.

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One aspect of fitness is dealing with the weather in a healthy and safe way. The Windows Phone app WeatherCare hopes to help you combat the elements in a healthy, safe manner by providing weather tips based on your current conditions.

Tips range from health related to clothing tips to driving tips. On rainy days you may get a tip to watch for slippery spots on the road or on sunny days with a high UV Index, tips to wear sunscreen for protection.

WeatherCare has potential and I like the concept, but the app still needs a little fine tuning.

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Windows Phone Central Fitness Month App Roundup: Exercise Apps

February brings about Fitness Month around these parts and there are plenty of Fitness oriented apps available in the Windows Phone Store to help everyone get fit and survive the month. You have apps that help you develop and track your exercise routine, apps that track your calories and apps that help you relax and recharge.

This week's app roundup focuses on the exercise apps for our Windows Phones. Apps that will track our exercise progress, give us a little motivation or simply lay out an exercise routine for you to follow.

We picked five such apps from the various Windows Phone Store "top" categories (top free, top paid, best rated, new+rising). The roundup is but a sampling of what is available. As always, if you have a favorite exercise app that isn't mentioned speak up and throw out your recommendation below in the comments.

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Track your calories with MyFitnessPal

As fitness month continues around these parts, we want to revisit a Windows Phone app that will help you count calories. MyFitnessPal is a calorie counting app for your Windows Phone device that boasts the largest food database available with over 1.2 million food items.  MyFitnessPal tracks your calories not only from meals and snacks but also calories lost from exercises.

We reviewed MyFitnessPal about a year ago and found it to be an exceptional Windows Phone app to monitor your diet and fitness routine. The app has been updated since we last looked at it and it remains a nice option to consider.  Worthy of revisiting.

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The DotNetNuzzi Fitbit Activity Tracker may have one of the longest app titles in the Windows Phone Store but along with the long title comes a nice list of features. The Activity Tracker is a Fitbit companion app, much like the Fitbit Companion app we looked at the other day, and could come in handy if you use the tiny Fitbit device in your quest to get/stay fit.

The Activity Tracker isn't an "official Fitbit" app but does tap into the Fitbit API to deliver your Fitbit data to your Windows Phone including your daily stats, activities, water intake, weight tracking, and food consumption.  While the DotNetNuzzi Fitbit Activity Tracker is restricted to only viewing your Fitbit data, future updates hope to bring the capability to add data to your daily activities.

The DotNetNuzzi Fitbit Activity Tracker is a nice option to consider for keeping track of your Fitbit stats. The user interface could stand a little tweaking but overall, it's another nice Fitbit Windows Phone app.

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While there isn't an "official" Fitbit Windows Phone app, Fitbit Companion is nice option for the Fitbit users in the house and a step in the right direction by giving you access to most your Fitbit statistics. For those not familiar, Fitbit is a small fitness monitoring device that tracks your activities and sleep patterns.

Along with the monitoring device, Fitbit also offers a fairly extensive web based tracking app that syncs with the data from your Fitbit device and allows you to enter meals, activity and track your weight. The Fitbit Companion app taps into the web based app and delivers most of your Fitbit stats to your Windows Phone. The app uses the Fitbit API and doesn't share your personal information outside of the app.

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