Odd iOS Apps to Read Heart Rates, Count Pushups and Measure Organ Health

CIO.com blogger James A. Martin spotlights three quirky iOS apps that promise to help you stay healthy in different ways, but only one of them is actually worth the download.

You may not know it, but your nose, fingers and eyes, along with the appropriate iOS app, can help you stay healthy. At least that's what three app developers want you to think.

Let’s start with the nose. Using your proboscis, the new, iOS-7-only app Push up workout (free) counts your push-ups. You choose a desired fitness level, from Level 1 (something a coordinated toddler might achieve) to Level 100, which is 100 push ups without a break. When I selected this fitness level, the app responded with “Good luck," which seemed like a taunt to me.

odd health apps

Once you complete a level, you can boast about it on Facebook or Twitter. You might look silly in the gym, tapping your nose against your iPhone screen. But who cares? The app does beg the question: What happens if you sneeze?

After using it for a few minutes, I tapped the "Push-up record" button and was surprised to see it had not recorded any of my efforts. All those push-ups and nothing to show for them? The objective is to step you through a timed series of push-ups with rest breaks, but still.

The free app is also supported by ads that can be obtrusive. You can remove them with a $1 in-app purchase, however. Worth mentioning: There are tons of push-up apps for iOS and Android. Popular ones include Hundred PushUps ($2) for iOS and Runtastic Push-Ups (free) for Android.

OK, on to your fingers. Instant Heart Rate (free) records your heart rate when you place an index finger on your iPhone camera. It’s fairly accurate, at least compared to my heart-rate-monitor watch readings (which I verified with my doctor’s reading during a recent physical). The app captures your recordings as well. You can upgrade to the pro version ($2) to sync your data in the cloud, view more than your five most recent entries, get rid of the ads (which aren’t too obnoxious) and more.

One downside: When I placed my finger on my iPhone 5s camera with the phone still in its case, my heart rate readings were far from instant. In fact, some took more than a minute. So you’ll probably need to remove your iPhone from its case.

The App Store abounds with other heart-rate monitoring apps, such as Runtastic Heart Rate Monitor & Pulse Tracker (free). Instant Heart Rate (free) is also available on Android, along with other similar apps.

Finally, let’s talk about your eyes. With the Health Test app ($2), you take close-up photos of either eye. Next, you select the eye you photographed, center it on your iPhone screen and tap on any dark iris pigmentation spots, which is way easier said than done. The app then tells you which of your organs or tissues are weak. I’m doomed, according to the app results, but my recent physical said different.

I didn’t find any other apps similar to Health Test for iOS or Android—which may say something.

So, are these apps worth a download? If you don’t have any other way to measure your heart rate (besides putting fingers to your neck and counting), give the free Instant Heart Rate app a try. Otherwise, your nose, fingers and eyes have better things to do.  

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