When Windows 8 updated to 8.1 this week one of the lesser publicised improvements is a new app from Microsoft called the Bing Health and Fitness App. This app which will be installed automatically when you update has a number of aspects including a diet tracker, exercise and health tracker, and demonstration exercises and a symptom and condition checker. It also syncs online with Microsoft’s Healthvault so if you are a user of that service it is worth a look just for the interface.
Diet Tracker – This allows you to record food’s calorific value as you eat and records the % of your daily targets and nutritional content. After some use it provides analysis of things like protein, fat and carbohydrate content in your food.
Exercise Tracker – This lets you record your work outs after they’ve finished. There is not any integration with devices so it does require manually recording the information. You can select from over 500 built in exercises, everything from running to pushing a stroller to running to rowing. It then analyses the data over time and gives feedback on your exercise habits.
Exercises – This section gives detailed information about over 500 exercises. They are sortable by difficulty, equipment required and which muscle is targeted and give videos and step by step information for each.
Health tracker – Recording software for weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and vaccinations.
Symptom Diagnosis – This is a feature that reminds me of the NHS Direct website. Select your age and sex and where on a 3d mannequin you are having issues and define a couple more pieces of information and it offers you a list of what conditions you might have and symptom and treatment information. Its simple and well designed but it would be nice to see more emphasis on first aid – I found it hard to find CPR instructions for example.
Finally there is the ‘Conditions’ section which gives and overview, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and recovery for a variety of common medical conditions.
Taken all together the Health and Fitness app tries to do a lot of different things and ends up doing a good basic job at most of them. If you are looking to do basic health tracking it might be a good and free place to start but there are far more sophisticated alternatives on the market. The stand out portion is the exercise section – it clearly demonstrates how to do the exercises and allows you to search for the appropriate one for yourself.