Friday, May 17, 2013

Fitness Apps to Test Run

Use technology to stay active with these exercise apps.
Use technology to stay active with these exercise apps.
Image: Shutterstock
It seems that everywhere you look, people have smartphones. From professionals to teenagers, many of us are “plugged in” to technology more often than not. And while this can sometimes be detrimental to staying active and fit, there are also some great apps that are actually meant to help keep you exercising on a regular basis. If you’re looking for a source of motivation and have a smartphone, check out these apps:

MapMyRun does exactly what the title denotes: it maps your run using GPS. Not only that, but it also tells you your speed, total distance, time, elevation change, and overall calories burned. All your runs are saved, so you can look back at anytime to track your progress. The creators of this app have also created other apps for cycling, hiking, walking, dog walking, and more. Best of all: it’s free!

Nike Training Club offers a variety of training activities, from cardio to weight lifting. It has over 90 custom and comprehensive workouts and allows you to set goals like “Get Lean,” “Get Strong” or “Get Toned.” After that, you just select your fitness level and the app will create several workouts from 30-45 minutes long. Each exercise comes with photos, step-by-step instructions, or a video. You can even play music from your phone at the same time as you are completing your circuit training workouts. Oh, and this one is free, too. What’s not to like?

Need motivation? Try "Zombies, Run!"
Need motivation? Try "Zombies, Run!"
Zombies, Run! might just be the best idea for a running app. Ever. Seriously, who wouldn’t be motivated to run faster and farther when threatened with zombies? The clever integration of a game-like concept (zombies attack, you must save humanity) into a fitness app makes working out more exciting and fun, and I can’t help but love it. For beginners, the app costs $1.99 and for the deluxe edition, it costs $3.99.

Fitness Buddy is for those who want to build muscle and strength. The paid version, which costs $0.99 includes more than 1,700 exercises, 1,000 HD photos, and more than 45 full-length workouts. The free version offers 300 exercises and dozens of workouts to explore before deciding whether or not to purchase the app. The workouts featured utilize several types of gym equipment such as kettlebells and resistance bands, making it the perfect gym companion. Like MapMyRun, Fitness Buddy allows you to track your progress over time, making it even more valuable.

Which fitness apps have you tried at home? I have RunKeeper on my phone at home, but I haven’t decided how I feel about it yet. I enjoy being able to track how far I’ve run, what my pace is, calories I’ve burned and everything else. It feels a little like a prize at the end of a long workout—something I can hold up and say, “Look what I accomplished!” Certainly, fitness apps are not for everyone, but for those who have a hard time getting motivated or coming up with workouts, they could be incredibly helpful.