Wouldn't it be great if someone would take the time to sift through the myriad wellness program apps and offer up a list of the seven most effective? Turns out the folks at EventBoard were thinking the same thing. Rather than wait for the list to appear, they created it themselves.

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No small undertaking, given that, according to EventBoard, there are more than 165,000 such apps on the market today. Engagement is the biggest challenge faced by the designers and implementers of wellness programs. With this in mind, EventBoard put dozens of wellness apps to the test to determine which ones are the most powerful for engaging employees in the benefits of a good wellness program.

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Here's their list:

  1. Keas: A platform designed to put the employee in the driver's seat. They get to set their goals, track their activities and indulge in some fun games that are subtly improving their mental abilities. Keas is highly social, offering sharables like photos, recipes and workout tips.

  2. Endomondo: The anti-couch potato app. Endomondo helps plan participants track their workouts, but it also provides audio feedback on those workouts, with helpful advice. Endomondo's special feature is the facilitating of healthy lifestyle communities, so you don't feel alone in the world of improving your life through healthy living.

  3. Hotseat: This will put you on it. It's an office challenge organizing tool, creating teams that vie for such titles as "most stairs climbed" or "most miles walked." The hook is that Hotseat sets office workers up to take two-minute activity breaks, in which they choose their activity and track it. Teammates nudge each other along the path of victory — and even the vanquished make progress and have fun.

  4. MyFitnessPal: One of the most popular wellness apps works because it's simple. It helps you track the calories of everything you eat and drink, gives you a running total, and provides lots of good information to help people make informed and healthy choices.

  5. Elevate: Being healthy includes mental as well as physical  and emotional health, and Elevate is a response to all the research that shows that a healthy, long-lasting mind needs regular and vigorous workouts. This "cognitive training app" provides a range of mental activities to boost your pronunciation, recall, comprehension and other mental  skills—all wrapped up in fun game-style packages.

  6. Meditation Studio: The brain needs rest, just like the body. This app offers more than 200 guided meditations that can fit into anyone's work or play day.

  7. Power Nap App: The power nap is as old as the hills, but has never had an app before this one showed up. When you tell your boss you want to sleep for 15 minutes in the break room, you might get a cool response. But if you say your wellness plan has an app that everyone is using to get huge productivity boosts, the boss is liable to go fetch your slippers and read you a bedtime story.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.