In this day and age, it seems that mobile phones and tablets are taking over our lives. We do everything on them from reading the newspaper to chatting to our friends – nowadays, almost everybody has gone digital.
Now that our devices are so technologically advanced, they can help us in many aspects of our lives. Did you know you can now speak to a GP and get a prescription through an app on your smartphone? What a time to be alive!
With that in mind, it makes sense that we should utilise the technology to help us achieve our fitness goals. There are loads of apps available to download on Apple and Google Play and if it’s new to you, it may all seem a bit overwhelming. Having used many over the past few years – some good, some not so good – I’d like to think I have some wisdom I can pass on to beginners looking to ditch the paper exercise sheets and get with the tech times!
A recent study conducted by our friends across the pond in the United States found that participants who used some kind of fitness app on their mobile or tablet device were more active than those who didn’t. It also found those using apps had a lower body mass index (BMI) too. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Our smartphones can literally do everything required to be the perfect fitness tool. They can act as your personal trainer or coach, help you keep track of your diet and nutrition, log running distances and times, deliver friendly reminders to get active and much, much more. There are even specially designed cases now that enable you to wear the device as an armband during physical activity.
So, to help you decide which apps to try first, I’ve compiled some information on some of the best I’ve used in recent years. They’re all very easy to use and on the most part can be connected and used in conjunction with each other.
This is my go to app when I am training for running challenges or just trying to keep the cardio up in general. It’s one of the easiest running apps to use, which is why it has over fifty million users worldwide!
It uses GPS to track your running route, so you will know exactly how far you’ve managed to run each time and it breaks down your minute per mile time and overall finishing time too. Handy if you are looking to complete a 10K or other long-distance running challenge in a specific time! Another useful thing with Runkeeper is that the app constantly updates you throughout your run to let you know how you are doing. You can alter this setting, but I like to hear a progress update every five minutes. So while I’m running along listening to my music, the app will cut in to tell me the distance I’ve covered, the time it’s taken me so far and what my average pace is.
It logs all of your runs too and will tell you if you’ve set a new personal best time or distance. It’s compatible with social media too, so if you like to boast about your run on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, then this app is perfect for you too!
MY FITNESS PAL
It’s all good and well getting active but nutrition is also extremely important when it comes to losing weight, gaining muscle or training for endurance challenges.
My Fitness Pal is a great tool for keeping track of what you’re putting into your body, so you can make sure it’s getting all of the fuel it requires before and after training!
The app counts calories for you, meaning if you’ve got a daily goal you can keep on top of it. It has almost every food known to man in its database, so you can log all of your meals and know exactly how many calories you are taking in. This will not only help you stay on your diet, but it will educate you on which foods have the highest calories which will keep you eating healthily even when you aren’t training for anything specifically.
This app can act like your very own personal trainer! The easy to use platform allows you to go into the gym with your phone and get to work on a pre-planned workout. If you have a personal trainer, they can use the app too to update your training programme and keep tabs on your progress. You can link it to your own gym club too.
I only recently started using this app after a training session with the PT at my gym at Gleneagles. She created a programme designed specifically for me, which I now access on my iPhone and log my workouts after I complete each exercise. Every time I increase the weight, it updates my app so that the trainer can track my progress and change the programme to keep me challenged whenever I go to the gym.
It even gives you a video example of how to do each exercise properly, which is ideal for beginners who are unsure about form or technique when they go to the gym. My Wellness also syncs with the health app on iPhone, so it can track how many steps you’ve done throughout the day and also how many calories you have burnt.
The great thing is it’s also compatible with both Runkeeper and My Fitness Pal – so you can use all three to make sure you are recording all of the most important data you need to reach your fitness goals. You can check your results and view any personal records you have set in terms of weight lifted, calories burnt or distance covered in a single day.
The best thing about all of the above apps is that the standard versions of them are completely free. If you want to get some extra special features, you may need to pay however the standard versions are more than adequate to provide you with a great digital platform to reach your goals and get fitter and healthier. Get with the times, get these apps and get yourself active!
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