From sleep to running and mindfulness, these are the world’s most popular health apps

As the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of gyms and the cancellation of community sport, more people than ever before turned to their smartphones for health and fitness help.

From fitness trackers to sleep monitors and everything in between, there’s no shortage of apps offering to help users improve their health, but finding one that works for you can be quite a task.

Comparison service’s new Health App Index ranks the most popular health apps in Australia and around the world.

According to the research, Australia is the world’s ‘most health-concerned country’, with Australians searching for apps related to health and fitness more than 100,000 times in the past year.

Mental health was of most concern for Australians, with mindfulness app Headspace the nation’s most popular app.

Mental health apps such as Calm, Headspace and Australian not-for-profit Smiling Mind have seen downloads soar over the past nine months as COVID-19 upended our lives.

Canada came second to Australia, with Canadians embracing the Nike Run Club running app.

The United Kingdom was the third most health-concerned country on the list, with Calm as the nation’s favourite.

Top 15 health and fitness apps in 2020

With about 30 million worldwide users in 2020, period tracker app Flo topped the list of the world’s most popular health apps.

Flo also scored 15 out of the 15 available points, making it the best-rated app of the bunch as well as the most popular.

Meditation app Calm was ranked second on the list with 20 million downloads in 2020 and a score of 14/15.

In third place was weight management app MyFitnessPal, followed by Strava, a running app favoured by amateurs and professionals alike, in fourth.

Nike Run Club came in fifth followed by Headspace and Fitbit.

Sleep Cycle was the world’s most popular app for tracking sleep, coming in at eighth overall.

Are paid health apps worth the money?

The research showed that paying for an app doesn’t guarantee it will be better than a free competitor.

Nike Run Club, which offers free membership, was rated the best value for money health app, with users able to access guided runs from experts, track their progress, and set personalised goals.

By contrast, Fitness Coach was rated as the worst value for money, costing users as much as $35 a month.

When it came to user privacy, two big-name apps scored the worst.

Popular calorie tracker MyFitnessPal and wearables firm Fitbit, recently bought by Google, gathered the most personal user data.

If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

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