Load up on these apps for a healthy summer

Anthem experts recommend top health-related apps

No matter what you’re looking to accomplish on your smartphone, “there’s an app for that.” That saying first popped up several years ago. Now it’s more accurate to say, “There’s a few hundred (or thousand) apps for that.”

Having so many options is great, but it also means that sometimes the hardest thing about using apps is finding which ones are worthy of your time and attention. Fortunately, the digital gurus at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have swiped and tapped through more than a few health-related apps so you don’t have to. Here are five apps and one online tool that you can use to jumpstart a healthy summer.

Charity Miles

This app lets you do good while working out. Pick one of nearly a dozen charities. Click whether you plan to run, walk or bike, and start moving. The app will track your distance, and the Charity Miles company will enlist sponsors to reward your chosen charity with a donation for your hard work.

GoMeals

Using a plate graphic, this app helps you visualize how well you’re meeting your daily nutrition needs. You can log foods using a comprehensive database that includes more than 40,000 foods and over 20,000 restaurant meals, view nutrition facts, and see what percentage of your current calorie intake is from carbohydrates, fat and protein.

Fooducate 

Fooducate helps improve nutrition choices by providing a thorough look at the foods you eat. Search for foods or scan barcodes to get a comprehensive profile, including nutrition facts, tips and notes, a health grade, and even the percentage of other Fooducate users who like a food. Simply tap to get a list of healthier options or add a product to your shopping list.

MedSimple 

This app provides an easy way to keep track of your medications, including prescription and over-the-counter meds, doses and frequency, prescriber and pharmacy information. You can also set alerts to remind you to take your meds or refill a prescription, and learn about possible savings on prescription drugs.

LiveHealth Online

Illnesses don’t schedule themselves around your business trips, and the kids never seem to get sick during the pediatrician’s regular office hours. For these reasons and more, there’s LiveHealth Online. A telehealth service, LiveHealth online allows you to visit a board-certified doctor on a secure connection over the Internet via a smartphone, tablet or computer. Doctors using LiveHealth Online can provide a diagnosis, treatment, and even write a prescription if needed. Best of all, telehealth visits are quite affordable.

Many Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members already have access to LiveHealth Online as a part of their insurance benefits, and anyone can use the service simply by signing up at www.livehealthonline.com and paying with a credit card. Doctors using LiveHealth Online typically charge $49 per medical visit.

Bonus Resource: Pedal to Health

While not technically an app, Pedal to Health is a free, interactive online guide to bicycling from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield that can help get you and your employees pedaling toward better health. The experience begins with a ride through a virtual town that is customized for both employers and their health plan members. Each stop in the town offers detailed information about bicycling and healthy living. You can use Google maps to find nearby bike paths, and workplaces can even create bike-related wellness programs and challenges for their employees.

These apps and the Pedal to Health program are just an app-appetizer, if you will. You don’t have to look hard to find many more great health and wellness apps online. Just remember, there is no one right answer when it comes to health apps. Find what works for you, and don’t be discouraged if that takes more than one download. That said — like all health programs — remember to app in moderation. You want to be moving around outside, not just downloading apps from your couch!

What apps work best for you? Reach out to me on LinkedIn and let me know if there are any workplace wellness apps we should add to this list.

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