Sep 02 2013

4 Great Smartphone Apps For Fitness And Health

Technology might just be the answer people need to overcome obesity and get fit. With fitness apps for their mobile devices, anyone who wants to switch to a healthier lifestyle has the tools they need readily available to them. For much of recent history technology has played a big role in humankind’s effort to shed pounds and develop strength and stamina. Examples of this include the modern gym with its weight machines, and the many late night infomercials that promise a perfectly toned body with the help of a machine. Now, the mobile devices have provided a whole new crop of resources for getting fit and healthy. Here are a few examples:

• Runkeeper:

The logistics involved in running is one of the things that can turn this exercise into a chore. Thanks to this app, runners can plan a route and monitor their statistics over time to see how they are improving. Runkeeper gives stats and coaching cues over the runner’s headphones and can measure their heart rate with sensors. For those who want to be social with their exercise data, the app allows for sharing of activity and stats (complete with maps and time) via Facebook and Twitter. Runkeeper is available for Android at:

and for iOS at:

• Couch-to-5k:

This app provides the training plan needed to get couch potatoes in shape to run a 5k in only nine weeks. While this may sound like it would involve hours of training every day, the Couch-to-5k app provides a schedule for them to do it by training for only 90 minutes a week. Users get to choose from several virtual coaches that can help to motivate them. It also comes with its own music player so that runners can listen to their playlists while using the app. The app even provides a discount on the cost of registering in a 5k in the user’s area. The Couch-to-5k app is available for Android at:

and for iOS at:

• NHLBI BMI Calculator:

A reliable calculator for body mass index (BMI) is important for those who want to lose weight and get fit. The amount of body fat a person has can indicate their risk of obesity-related diseases like heart disease and diabetes. This BMI indicator can serve to motivate an individual to start working out and can measure the progress that they are making towards losing their excess weight. This tool is provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and is entirely free. The NHLBI BMI Calculator is available for iOS at:

• Instant Heart Rate:

For exercise to be effective, it is important to keep the heart rate up; however, measuring the pulse while exercising can be difficult. There is a variety of sensors on the market to handle this, but it can also be done without the need for anything other than the smartphone itself. This app measures heart rate via the smartphone’s camera. The user simply places the tip of their finger on the camera and the pulse in their fingertip is measured and displayed just like on the monitors used in hospitals. The app displays a real-time graph that allows the user to see their heart rate. They also have the option to export and to share the data via Facebook and Twitter. The app is available for Android at:

For iOS at:

and for Windows Phone at:

Getting enough of the right kind of exercise is an important part of losing weight, but not everyone has the time or the money to go to the gym. These apps allow a smartphone to be transformed into a personal trainer; this can help users to stay motivated on the long, hard road to fitness.

Jenny Wadlow is an active blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She enjoys sharing information related to health and fitness through her blogs. She often writes for Infiniti Fitness which has serviced the Australian home fitness market since 1982. You can follow her on Twitter @JennyWadlow.

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