Smartphones are getting more and more sophisticated. Initially, these mobile devices were created to help keep all communications, scheduling, and mobile business needs organized on a single device while you’re out and about. Today, they are provided with a mass of knowledge and have grown to offer so much more. One of the popular functions these days is to use smartphones to manage personal health. There are tons of exercise apps, food logging apps, and other health-related apps on various smartphone platforms out there that, chances are, everyone is using something different.
Here, I’ve gathered some of the most popular smartphone apps that can help you stay fit and healthy. Read on to learn more about them!
It’s hard to run when you still need to worry about finding a good circuit. Setting up logistics for how long, how fast, and how often you’re hitting the streets make it difficult to actually enjoy running and keep going. RunKeeper is easily one of the most popular fitness apps today that make tracking your workouts fun, social, and easy to understand. It can help you manage your workout by using your smartphone’s GPS to gather helpful information about your daily run. You can also take advantage of the app’s dashboard to see how your workouts improve over time, run with a specific program, and allow friends to send encouraging messages. Once you download RunKeeper on your device, you’ll be able to train like a pro, even if you’re just starting out.
NIKE TRAINING CLUB
It’s a challenge to find great workouts for women, and Nike Training Club has fixed that with a big database filled with bodyweight exercise routines to get you moving quickly. Developed by Nike professional trainers, the app offers full-body workouts that will take your training to the next level. You can select workouts based on your desired goals-sculpting, toning, strength, and quick workouts that focus on different areas of the body-and relative fitness capabilities. This means that there is something for beginners and also fitness junkies looking to switch up their routines. You can also sync your own music to the workout, providing a seamless session that lets you get your sweat on. Nike Training Club is fun to use and it works just like your personal trainer.
Zombies, Run! brings something different to your workout with an ultra-immersive game and audio adventure that casts you as Runner 5, an important equipment handler and gatherer for the upstart post-apocalyptic survivor. The app delivers the story straight to your headphones through orders and voice recordings. As you run, zombies are hot on your tail and the app will cut your music to tell you that they are gaining fast. There are 23 missions to play through, as well as a 20k mission challenge, so there’s plenty of zombie goodness to keep you running for a while.
iOS/Android/BlackBerry 10/Windows Phone 8
Keeping fit and healthy is not only about exercise-it’s also about eating habits. MyFitnessPal is a diet and fitness community that provides you with the tools and support that you need to achieve your weight loss goals. The app helps track food intake and set caloric goals and other factors in exercise to give an accurate readout of how your diet shapes up everyday. Setting up the system is pretty easy; the app even has an extensive and fairly accurate database of foods that are broken down to brands and menu items at popular restaurants. Simple and comprehensive, MyFitnessPal is a great way to get an idea of what your diet looks like and how you can change it over time.
iOS/Android/Windows Phone 8
The practice of yoga becomes beneficial when practiced faithfully everyday, although not everyone has the time or money to make that a reality. Pocket Yoga is a very simple way to help you keep up with your practice at your own pace and schedule in the comforts of your own home. Simply roll out your mat, start a practice, and the app will guide you through your entire session. For beginners, there’s a useful pose dictionary that describes each movement in detail, and there are plenty of advanced poses available for experts too. Experience practices designed by adept yoga instructors through 27 different sessions with Pocket Yoga.
INSTANT HEART RATE
iOS/Android/Windows Phone 8
The whole point of exercise is to keep an active heart rate, but checking a pulse during workout can be a nuisance. Exercise watches with built-in heart monitors can be very expensive, and more traditional monitors can feel bulky or awkward in a fitness setting. Instant Heart Rate takes accurate pulse measurements by utilizing a smartphone’s camera to make color changes in the tip of a pointer finger. Just click the “Measure” icon, cover your camera lens with your finger, and the app will track the rate of your heartbeat, as well as produce a photoplethysmograph (PPG) readout of every single beat. The complete process takes less than 30 seconds, and it keeps a detailed log of every heart rate test so you can view differences over time.
WebMD is a health and fitness app that helps you with your decision-making and health improvement efforts by providing mobile access 24/7 to mobile-optimized health information and decision-support tools. Simply select the part of your body that’s bothering you and choose your symptoms to learn more information. The app also gives you access to First Aid information without having the need to be connected to a wireless network-critical if you don’t have Internet access in a time of need. You can customize WebMD by saving contacts, drugs, conditions, and articles relevant to you through secure access and easy sign in.
Nike+ Running is a health and fitness app that accurately records distance, pace, time, and calories burned with GPS while giving you audio feedback as you run. You can tag the friends you run with and share a map of your route on Facebook. Likewise, the app can automatically upload to www.nikeplus.com so you can see your runs, routes, and elevation. If you need extra motivation, get in-ear cheers from your friends and set up your favorite song to give yourself a boost. There are no sensors or additional products needed, just grab your phone and go.
Keeping fit and healthy has become a modern world dilemma, but it’s good to know that we can use our very own smartphone to manage our personal health. We can use our mobile device to know how many calories we need daily; it can count on the basis of our weight, percentage of bodily fat, age, sex, and height. It can also take into consideration how much we actually move and what type of work we do.
Certainly, smartphones have found a new way to make lives healthier. With the right tools and input, you can turn your smartphone into your very own fitness trainer or instructor, nutritionist, and commitment keeper at no cost, plus you can boost your chances of success while doing it!
Words by Janelle M. Bustilla
First published in Gadgets Magazine, September 2013