Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a vital part of living well and maintaining wellbeing. To ensure that you stay as healthy as possible means asking a lot of questions. How far did I run this morning? Why am I tossing and turning for hours every night? How many calories were in that yummy big burger? But when counting every refried bean just won’t work, it can be hard to find answers. Luckily, there are at least 50 simple solutions to our health- and wellness-related quandaries. There are plenty of awesome health and wellness startups out there, and we had a hard time choosing the first 10 to feature for today.
We are talking apps that can see inside food packaging; personal trainers that fit in our back pocket; and bloggers who dig up the latest research on the science of meditation. And while each of these startups is different, they all remind us that — when it comes to health, fitness, and happiness — we’re not alone. Help, it turns out, is just a click, a tap, or a phone call away. Check out what these companies, ranked from 1 to 10, have to offer and tell us which ones are your personal favorites.
Managing body weight and eating healthy are a lot easier when you can keep track of what exactly you’re eating. MyFitnessPal is a tool for just that purpose, letting users track their daily activity (and calorie burn) and food intake (calorie consumption). That way, it’s possible to see how much you’ve consumed, how much you’ve burned, and how much you have left to chow down on. They have a huge database with nutrition facts for hundreds of thousands of foods, including both popular brands like KIND Foods and basic staples like brown rice (broken down by brand, too!). Plus, it’s super simple to add new foods with the handy dandy barcode scanner. The system’s also smart — it remembers things you eat frequently for quick n’ easy logging!
Want to track that run, hike, or bike ride? Look no further. One of the most popular fitness-tracking apps, RunKeeper lets users track distance, length, and calories for their workouts and then share and compare stats on social media. The company recently released a sleek redesign that allows for easier photo sharing and faster updates. (Plus it’s super pretty.) And non-iPhone users, don’t fret; they’ve got an Android app, too.
This European startup is aiming high to become a full-service health and fitness platform. Runtastic offers an array of online services and apps that measure, track, and analyze data. Users can also connect to social media platforms and interact with friends. Many of their apps (like PushUps and Cycling) cost a few bucks, but their most popular running app, “runtastic” is free and fun to use.
Whether we want to run, skate, ski, or cycle, Endomondo makes it easier to track the way we train. Created by three management-consultants-turned-entrepreneurs, the Endomondo Sports Tracker is a free GPS-assisted iPhone app that tracks any outdoor sports adventures and helps monitor users’ performance over time. Feeling social? Challenge someone to a race, or let others cheer you on —endomondo.com is where 13 million-plus users come to connect and sweat it out with friends.
After working together on The Essential New York Times Cookbook, professional food writers Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs were ready for a new project. They set a goal to create an entirely reader-sourced cookbook in 52 weeks (hence the title of the website). Through online recipe contests, they soon had enough recipes for a book, which was published in 2011. Even better, they created a community where home cooks could be appreciated and interact with each other, discuss food news, and, of course, exchange recipes.
Created by athletes for athletes, Strava takes basic fitness tracking up a notch with its sophisticated approach to analyzing runs and rides. Not sure what to make of that last solo effort? Check out yesterday’s uphill climb (or any other section of your ride) to see how it stacks up against another cyclist’s (or your ride last week). Connect via Garmin, Android, or iPhone, and hit the road with a little camaraderie — and some healthy competition — in hand. And for those lucky enough to work at Strava HQ in San Francisco, five weeks’ vacation fits just right with the company’s belief that there’s always time for a good run, ride, or climb.
The folks at MindBodyGreen are dedicated to making wellness a holistic practice and a part of everyday life. Every day brings dozens of new articles on the latest trends in health, fitness, and sustainability, from the link between meditation and sex to the benefits of slurping some chlorophyll. The site features a nice balance of personal stories (“How I Learned to See Beauty When I Look in the Mirror” and more general guides to relationships, eco-friendly living, and finding inspiration everywhere.
In 2011, former Yahoo execs Andrea Cutright and Hillary Mickell launched Foodily, a social, highly searchable recipe database. The site (Internet-speak for Food-I-Love-You) is different from other recipe resources: It allows users to search by ingredient, cuisine, dietary restrictions, and source, among other criteria. Each recipe comes with detailed instructions, multiple photos, and plenty of share buttons for social media sites like Facebook, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and Pinterest. Foodily lets wannabe chefs get as specific as they want — for example, it’s possible to search for a gluten-free vegetable pizza recipe that excludes green peppers. Score for picky eaters everywhere! The website includes recipes from diverse sources from mommy bloggers to celebrity chefs. In late 2011 Foodily came out with an app version of the site, which was recently updated in Fall 2012.
It all started with two gamers and an idea: What if there was a way to take the fun of video games and apply that to fitness? That’s the question Fitocracy founders Brian Wang and Dick Talens set out to solve when they launched Fitocracy, one of the web’s largest workout trackers and social fitness platforms. With hundreds of thousands of users and a slick social feed to keep up with what your friends are doing (and lifting), Fitocracy is making it fun to earn points for working out and keeping tabs on your fitness. And with a free app now available for iPhone and Android, it’s easy to log those reps in the gym.
Managing weight is one of the key goals for many exercisers. Withings hopes to be your one-stop shop for intelligent, digitally minded weight tracking and overall health (they have also branched into nutrition for newborns). From blood pressure to exercise to a line of wireless scales, this company is right at the crossroads of health and technology in the best way possible.
Which startup is your favorite?