Get fit with your phone

If you are looking at getting fit your phone might just be your new fitness friend.

Many phones are now equipped with built in pedometers that will measure how many steps you take while you have your phone on you, however there are a range of other great apps that you can download that will help you to improve your fitness.

We will have a look at the different fitness areas that have apps that you can download and which ones might be most suitable for your situation.

Remember if you are starting your fitness regime after a period of inactivity or illness, or you are trying a new activity check with your Dr. to ensure that the program you plan on using is safe for you. This last bit is important as not all apps will have passed a stringent medical and certified fitness test, so they may not be 100% right for you.

Notes about apps

  • Some apps will share your progress, you may like this and enjoy the community feel to some apps, or you may be competitive and enjoy competing against others. Many apps have leaderboards, medals or community chats set up that you can join. If you do not like this most of these apps will allow you to switch this feature off. Sometimes you can switch it off permanently other times you may need to switch it off every time you use the app.
  • Some apps may post to other social media accounts; they will need permission to do this, so you should have control over this feature.
  • Some apps may only be available in certain app stores, and depending on your device may or may not be available to you to use
  • Some apps will post your location, or a map of where you have done your run; again you should be able to control this feature with the permission settings in the app.
  • Some apps will be free, some apps will cost money and some apps will have reoccurring fees, you really should check this before you purchase an app. You should also look around as often there are similar apps available in different price ranges, or apps have lite, or light versions that you can trial the app before you purchase it.
  • Please read the following article as it clearly explains that apps are not well regulated and are NOT a substitute for a professional opinion. Apps may be great to motivate you but most are NOT medically approved. Please note that a limited number are medically approved but these are few and far between. http://theconversation.com/how-to-pick-the-good-from-the-bad-smartphone-health-apps-58508
  • You should also note that we have not used all of these apps, some we have personally used, but many we have only heard of through friends family and research, so the information provided is only intended to help you see what is available.

Pedometers

  • Pedometers will measure how many steps you take when you have your phone on you. Many pedometers will also measure how many stairs or hills you have climbed, as well as having options to measure how well you are sleeping, and your heart rate.
  • You may not need to download an app for your pedometer as many phones already have these apps on the phone ready for the user.
  • If your phone does not have this type of app you can download many different kinds from the app stores, simply by searching for “pedometer”
  • You may have a “fitbit” or a “leaf” or another device to track amongst other things your level of activity, often you can download an associated app on your phone, and information form the band, or accessory will automatically be synced with the app on your phone.
  • Some of these pedometers will also let you map out where you have walked as well as programming music for you.

Diet and Wellness

  • Often diet and wellness apps will be bundled into a pedometer app, so it might be useful to consider what you would like to achieve and perhaps a bundled app would be more useful to you.
  • Some wellness apps might monitor your heart rate, they can do this by asking you to place your finger over the camera and monitoring your heart rate, others can monitor your heart rate by using information obtained from other sources such as your fitbit.
  • Under “other” things that might be monitored could include: sleep, and your sleep and wake patterns, hydration, active minutes and heartbeat.
  • There are huge range of diet apps. Any type of diet really is available, some for these may cost you money, some may be free and the content that they include will vary greatly.
  • You may need a specific diet recommended to you by your Dr. if this is the case, I would ask them if there are apps they recommend for you which have been approved by a professional.
  • You may be interested in a specific diet: vegan, vegetarian, diet and fitness, weight loss, paleo. Whatever it my be simply type your preferred diet type into the search bar and you should find something to help you.
  • Many weight loss and diet apps are a combination app.
  • Diet apps may be bundled together with fitness apps or they may stand alone apps. My personal favourite is My Fitness Pal, I have turned off sharing but it does have this capability. My Fitness Pal allows you to manually enter your activity each day as well as your food and water intake. It will then take into account your height weight and age, and tell you if you are reaching your calorie intake. I found this was a great app for just getting my eating habits into line and being aware of the calories in some food. You can upgrade with this app but I have not done so, as the free version does everything that I need. My favorite feature of this app is the ability to scan barcodes of food that I am using and it comes up with all the calories. This is great if I am cooking a meal from scratch as it tells me exactly how many calories are in the meal and I can save it for later, if I cook it often.

Ratings

The University of Sydney has conducted a study that ranked weightloss apps based on their accuracy and scientific basis and found the following:

  • Noom Weight Loss Coach by Noom Inc (USA, 2010), 75
  • Calorie Counter PRO by MyNetDiary Inc (USA, 2010), 65
  • ControlMyWeight by CalorieKing Wellness Solutions (Australia, 2012), 65
  • Food Diary and Calorie Tracker by MyNetDiary Inc (USA, 2010), 63.5
  • Easy Diet Diary by Xyris Software (Australia, 2011), 63
  • Calorie Counter by SparkPeople (USA, 2012), 61
  • Jillian Michaels Slim-Down: Weight Loss, Diet & Exercise Solution (USA, 2010), 57
  • MyPlate Calorie Tracker LITE by Demand Media Inc (USA, 2013), 56
  • Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal Inc (USA, 2009), 54.5
  • Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by Calorie Count (USA, 2010), 54.5
  • My Diet Coach Pro by InspiredApps (A.L) Ltd (USA, 2012), 54.5

Yoga

  • There are hundred of Yoga apps that vary not only in level of difficulty but the type of yoga they are offering, and what you receive.
  • Different yoga apps target weight loss, seniors, men, meditation, beginners, advanced or core strengthening. It is up to you which one that you choose, but people often find that starting at the beginners yoga level gives them confidence later if they wish to attend yoga classes face to face.
  • Yoga apps may have simple instructions given verbally and set to music, others may have videos for you to follow, and others still may simply have exercises that they send to your phone or email.
  • Depending on the app that you have chosen you may receive daily, or weekly update or you may progress through different levels, this will depend on the app that you have chosen.
  • To download a yoga app either type in yoga In the search bar, or search for yoga+ whatever your yoga desire might be (beginners or weight loss)
  • Yoga Studio is an app that has over 24 hours of ready made materials and caters for beginner sto vetrans, it allows ou to decide how long your workout will be and the classes are demonstrated by a qualified yoga instructor($3.99) Apple.
  • Down dog is Free and available on Android and Apple, it is great if you don’t like routine, as everytime you log in it will try and give you a differnet workout based on the time you have available and past session as wellas your skill elvel. You can also choose your workout music.

Seniors apps

There are a range of apps that are marketed at seniors, some of these you might love and others you might not like so much, but it is worth looking at a few of these in terms of fitness as a fitness targeted to you is far more likely to succeed than one targeted at someone else.

When you type in seniors in the search bar, this will come up with all the seniors apps that are available, which are many and varied, in this article we are simply referring to seniors apps for fitness.

It is a little more difficult to find seniors specific apps for fitness, but the best way to start your search is to type in either seniors + the type of fitness you are looking for or the type of fitness you are looking for + seniors. It is important to remember that some of the search results that you will see will not specify seniors in the title, this does not mean they are not for seniors, but they might have a seniors section or a user my have tagged them as a good fit for seniors.

If you have been advised to restart your fitness regime or to try a specific fitness routine, you should ask your Dr. or specialist if they can recommend any apps that might assist you.

Below are a few senior specific apps:

  • fitivity – Senior Fitness Workouts this is part of the Fitness Pro Membership
  • Tai Chi for seniors(Taiji) $3.99
  • Dialcaddy Seniors – $0.99 helps reduce the maths needed on unfamiliar courses
  • Daily Senior Fitness Exercise EBMACS
  • Yoga For Seniors & Adults: For Increased Mobility& Flexibility ($3.99) Apple

Cardio and Cardiac rehabilition

  • Cardio apps will vary in what they do and what additional gadgets you will need.
  • There are apps that are designed simply for a cardio workout and there are others that are designed to help people start moving and improve their lifestyle after a cardiac issue or to avoid cardiac issues.
  • Digifit iCardio free but it does require a compatable heart rate monitor, once paired with a heart rate monior this can track your heart rate, track your workouts your distance time and pace.
  • Pear-Training Intelligence also requires a heart rate monitor but it is a good guide for those starting out with their training and doesn’t yet know how to monitor your heart rate as it uses your heart rate to coach you.
  • The heart foundation has a heart app which can help you to record and manage medicines, help you to manage your health stats as well s help you to find healthier recipes (https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/living-with-heart-disease/my-heart-my-life-free-mobile-phone-app)
  • The CSIRO has also developed an app to help patients with caridiac rehabilitation (http://www.csiro.au/en/Research/BF/Areas/Digital-health/Improving-access/Online-rehab)

Running

There are many apps designed for running, they may just track your run for you, they may produce a range of stats, or they might create a playlist for you. The list below should not be seen as an exhaustive list rather as a taste of what running apps are capable of

  • Virtual Runner – Apple ipad only, free with in-app purchases. This is the start of Virtual reality (VR) this app allows you to run through various locations around the world and the scenery will speed up or slow down based on your pace. You also have the option to listen to the sounds that were captured when they were shooting on loation. It can get expensie as the way to unlock different runs or sceneary is through inapp purcahses. This means that you will have to pay to unlock different ceanrios, includingthe great arrier reef, central park NY, Bali and Niagra falls.
  • Zombies, Run($3.99) Android and iOS and The Walk ($4.99) Android and iOS, uses stories to motivate you in your workout.
  • Couch-to-5k ($1.99) Apple and Android, this app will help you build from nothing to being able to run 5 km in 9 weeks.
  • Add music to your workout – Spring Workout Music for running, Power Walking and Exercising ($3.99 per month) Available on iOS. Spotify – ($9.99per month) Andriod, iOS and Windows phones. You might also want to match the beat of the songs you are listening to, to your heart rate or tempo. If this is the case then RockMyRun ($4.99 per month) Android and iOS might be for oyu.
  • Measuring and mapping your runs – Runtastic($4.99) Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows phones and web. Runmeter( can be free or $4.99 per year) iOS or Map My Run(Free to $5.99 per month).

Cycling

  • Map My Ride – Allows you to see maps of where you have cycled and compare yourself to others, it also allows you receive mentoring form others who are using the app and may have more experience.
  • Fill that hole – Currently UK, this allows you to report pot holes and their dangers to local authroities.
  • Cycle map – Allows you to choose the safest journey on your bike.
  • Cyclemeter free to $4.99 and available on iOS, it can be used for running, walking and other activites as well. It includes information such as your average speed, weather, records heart reate, bike cadence and bike power and sensors as well as much more.
  • Strava – Allows you to see on a map where you have been and it also shows you how often you have been there .Starva also has leaderboards and leaderboard segments, these allow you to see how friends, local riders and pros who have been in the area have fared.

Dance

There are a range of danceworkouts these range from apps that teach you to dance, or apps that assume you can dance a certain style and are for workut purposes.

To find the best dance app you should type in the style of dance you want plus either workout or fitness or learn to depending on what you wish to achieve.

Golf

There are many golf apps available but here are few that you might find useful:

Some twists

  • Some apps that you download can turn your activity into points, money for charity, gift cards, workout equipment or bragging rights.
  • Nexercise is free and allows you to compete against friends, and gives you the possibility to wing gift cards or workout gear.
  • Charity miles – free and available on Android and iOS, this app will donate a few cents for every mile of exercise you do.
  • Are you the betting kind of person? Well you might like Pact formely Gympact, this lets you bet on whether you will go to the gym or not. This is free and available on Android and iOS.
  • Jefit Workout, free or $4.99 on Android and iOS shows you simple gym workouts and helps you record reps and weights.
  • Strava is free to $6 per month and available on iOS and Android, allows you to see the times of others who have completed the same areas that you are exercising in and allows you to compete.
  • Swap It Don’t Stop It – this app gives you recommendadtions of things that you can swap in your day to day to be come more active and is not just limited to swapping sweets fro nuts(although that is one recommendation) . It will also remind you to walk or play lawn bowls with friends instead of a sedentary coffee.
  • NFL Play 60 – Free this turns you into a virtual character and as you run and jump your character does the same, but collects coins for you to spend on NFL gear.

Links

While we have not used all the apps below, the linked articles will give you an idea of some of the apps that are available and what they do. This is not an extensive list by any means, however the links are intended to give you an idea of what is available, without opening every app in store that you see:

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