5 apps for better sex, sleep, exercise, diet and mental health in 2022

PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/Blueheart

There is an app for almost everything, whether it’s organising family activities, booking appointments, or finding a local product or service.

Apps can also be hugely beneficial for mental and physical well-being, giving users the tools to stay active, stress-free and healthy. This became particularly apparent during Covid-19 when much of the world went into lockdown.

The eHealth app market exploded during this period as people shifted from gym workouts to digital classes, and has continued to grow even as fitness studios have reopened.

Many health and fitness experts have pivoted to apps to enable customers to access a range of services without worrying about social distancing or contact points.

As demand for such tools grows, here are five health apps set to be household favourites in 2022.

The global wellness market is worth US$1.5 trillion (S$2.03 trillion) a year and is on track to grow annually by up to U$100 billion a year, according a survey this year by McKinsey.

More than half of consumers cited in the report said they wanted to prioritise mindfulness and were open to trying new services. Headspace, which counts Gwyneth Paltrow and Emma Watson as fans, is among the top meditation apps.

It offers more than 500 meditations that help users de-stress, boost resilience and develop greater compassion. It also has wind-down sleep exercises, tension-releasing workouts and focus playlists.

It enables users to address specific issues such as how to deal with climate anxiety, meditation for a healthy body image and tips for easing travel anxiety.

This healthy eating app has been around since 2013, but it is set to expand into the Asian market in 2022 as it adds more Asian meals to its menu.

Described as “like having a personal nutritionist in your pocket”, the app offers personalised recommendations for a healthy diet, from going vegan for a week to eating more protein. It syncs with health-tracking wearables like Fitbit and Samsung health.

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The app helps plan meals and sets up shopping lists to make it easier to stick to the plan and avoid temptations in the grocery store. It also helps those starting a new diet to understand what macros are, the foods they need to eat and in what quantity.

It has a database of 11 million food items and a bar code scanner to identify what is in them.

The app also features a water tracker and healthy recipes.

This app from Adidas is much more than a running tracker. It also helps track hiking, cycling, yoga and other sports, and keeps a log of your time, distance, speed, elevation gained and calories burned.

It has easy-to-follow video tutorials of warm-up and cool-down exercises, how to start running, how to slim down, how to train for a marathon, and how to meet other personal goals.

The app can help maximise your motivation with targeted challenges based on duration, distance or consistency.

It can also connect you to a community of users to keep your competitive spirit alive. This enables users who opt to work together to reach common goals such as collectively achieving one million workout hours in one month.

The market is saturated with apps for mental health and fitness, but sexual wellness has been largely underserved, until now.

Talking to a professional about sex can be awkward and expensive, but this new app promises to improve couple’s sex lives. BlueHeart users fill out an assessment on areas they would like to work on, such as sexual confidence, body confidence or low libido. The app creates a personalised programme of therapy tutorials led by sex and relationship therapists for users to view and read.

After each tutorial the couple are given homework or tasks to help them practise what they have learned.

Its own user survey shows the app has so far helped more than 25,000 couples to be more satisfied with the amount of physical intimacy they have together, to connect physically more often, and to feel less distressed about the intimacy issue they wanted to address with the app.

“We want to eradicate the stigma associated with sexual dysfunction by providing an app which acts as a safe space for people to address the issues they are having,” said founder Sachin Raoul.

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of good health and mindfulness but is easy to overlook. The Sleep Cycle app is recommended for measuring and analysing sleep patterns.

The app tracks sleep cycles by listening to a person sleeping. It analyses the sounds they make and presents the findings to help users understand what influences their sleep.

It offers solutions on how to improve rest and recovery, as well as fun statistics on the countries with the best sleep quality (currently the Netherlands and Finland), countries with the worst sleep quality (currently Vietnam and Japan) and for how long people snore around the globe.

As people are sleeping less in the pandemic because of stress and other factors, this app could be essential in 2022 to get your sleep back on track.

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This article was first published in South China Morning Post.