Five apps and gadgets to help you look after your health and wellbeing

Older man smiling in a woodland, with a water bottle and a tablet.

There are lots of apps and devices on the market promising to help you keep fit, breath deeply, sleep well and eat more healthily. 

To help figure out which ones are the most useful we asked five of our expert Technology for Life (TfL) volunteers to tell us about their own favourites. Here are their recommendations:

1. Garmin Vivofit 4 activity tracker

TfL Volunteer Mark Wilson says this activity tracker allows him to keep on top of lots of different aspects of his health and fitness. The tracker is like a light, slim watch and Mark says it’s comfortable to wear all day and at night too. The Garmin Vivofit 4 tracks steps, distance and calories burned, monitors sleep and provides a personalised daily step goal. It also has useful tools that let you set alarms, start a countdown timer, check the weather and find your phone. There are more expensive options with more features, but Mark says this model has everything he needs.

2. MyFitnessPal

Mike Hobson, TfL Volunteer, recommends MyFitnessPal, a completely free calorie counter and exercise tracker that you can use online via a website or on an Android or Apple smartphone. You input data like your height and weight and it then allows you to set goals, like your ideal weight and how much exercise you want to do. MyFitnessPal tracks your progress, by you adding exercise and the meals you eat. It’s easy to search for all the nutrition information about a food items by scanning the barcode or searching in a large database. Mike especially enjoys reading its healthy recipe recommendations.

3. Step Tracker

Terry Bensted, TfL Volunteer uses an app called Step Tracker. It’s a free pedometer and calorie tracker app, only available on Android (but there are lots of similar products for iOS too). In GPS tracking mode the step counter tracks your fitness activity in detail (distance, pace, time, calories) and records your routes on a map with GPS in real-time. But if you don’t choose GPS tracking, it will count steps with built-in sensor to save battery. Terry says it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely helping him to reach his daily step target.

4. Oak – Meditation and Breathing

TfL Volunteer João de Sousa e Silva recommends Oak – Meditation and Breathing. This app for iOS promises to help you decompress with both guided and nonguided meditation sessions. It also has exercises to improve sleep with relaxing sounds like a crackling fire or pouring rain and includes breathing exercises to help relax your mind. João says after few days, spending not more than 10 minutes, he notices a difference in his mood and patience. 

5. Calm

TfL Volunteer David Drummond recommends Calm, an iOS and Android app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. Calm comes with a selection of free resources including mindful living calendars and mental fitness training guides. David says that at £28.99 for a whole year, the paid for subscription option is pretty good value. It includes access to narrated stories, poetry, music, meditation sessions, relaxing sounds to help you wind down and relax and the timer function is perfect so you can just drift off to sleep.

Further information

RNIB has produced a series of helpful guides to good mental health, including more tips about exercise, breathing and mindfulness.

Members of RNIB's Technology for Life team are early adopters of new technology and share their own experiences with the most interesting and useful apps in a series of reviews. This is not an official accessibility review or audit, nor have we reviewed the site for security or compliance with data processing law. For issues concerning accessibility please raise these with the developer via its website.