On the hunt for health and fitness apps

PHOTO: On the hunt for health and fitness apps

I admit, I am not the most tech-savvy person.

I managed to part with my old, bulky desktop computer only last weekend - the kind which still had floppy disk drives and which ran at the speed of a snail compared with today's powerful models.

So, when I downloaded a health app on my mobile phone for the first time last year, I did not pin high hopes on it.

It was a pretty straightforward app which allows you to keep track of the amount of calories consumed and the amount burned through exercise every day. It also calculates whether you are hitting the right balance, based on your job, height and weight.

The diet tracker, which included local dishes, such as beef hor fun (a hefty 700 calories) and Penang laksa (just 370 calories), was quite useful and foolproof.

However, I couldn't quite figure out the calorie counter for exercise. It would sometimes stop working in the middle of my run. Perhaps this happened when I paused to check for vehicles before crossing the road. I had no idea how to overcome this bug.

At other times, the route would look strange on the map, as if I ran zigzag and even through buildings. This, in turn, affected the accuracy of the final statistics. So, I stopped using the app.

Another app which I recently downloaded was for cooking. Search for a type of dish - such as aglio olio or a salad - or the ingredients you want to use, and a list of recipes would appear, including healthy options.

You can save these recipes, rate them and even create a shopping list of the ingredients you need.

Several weeks ago, after failing to access the app, I found out there is a new rule: One has to create an account to continue using the app's features.

There went all my previously saved recipes, tips and plans. Frankly, I wouldn't mind paying the small fee, but I was too outraged by the unceremonious change of rules to sign up.

So, I am back to square one and on the hunt for new health-related apps - preferably those which do not spring any unwanted glitches or surprises.

This article was first published on June 12, 2014. Get a copy of Mind Your Body, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.