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App Chat: Keeping track of your health

Irvine residents exercise at the end of the work day by one of the city's parks.
Irvine residents exercise at the end of the work day by one of the city's parks.
Josie Huang, KPCC

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Now that summer is over, the days are getting shorter and the holidays are coming up. Letting yourself go a little bit is pretty much inevitable. But if you want to keep things in check throughout the fall season, we have some technology that might help.

This week, Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica joins the show with some health apps that help track how much you move and how much you eat.  

Tracks all your activities automatically in the background and can tell when you're walking versus cycling versus running. Tracks where you're going, too, to show you a record of where you've been. For example it might show I walked from home to a coffee place nearby, and it took me 20 minutes to walk there. Then I hopped on a bike and rode it downtown, and it took me 14 minutes by bike. Really fun and useful for seeing where you've been and how much activity you've been getting.

Lose It 
Lets you enter food and track calories, but the main appeal is that it can scan the barcode of pretty much anything and allow you to bring in that information without manually entering it. So if you're eating some Wheaties, for example, you can scan it and it'll bring in all the Wheaties information, where you can correct for what you're eating and whatnot.

Not just for running! People use it for walking, cycling, etc. and it helps track where your routes are, how much activity you've been doing, how close you are to a goal, etc. If you set goals within the app, it can tell you how close you are to meeting that; for example my husband has a goal of riding a thousand miles on his bike before the end of 2013, and RunKeeper keeps a tally of how many miles he's ridden so far. There's also an extra paid feature of RunKeeper where you can have it live broadcast where you are, which can be useful if you compete in races and you have family who want to watch your progress.