With the turn of the New Year, health and fitness are topics that seem to be on everyone’s mind. Whether you set out on a New Year’s resolution or you’re simply looking to get healthier this year, there are plenty of apps out there to help you out.
Traditionally, technology didn’t always go hand-in-hand with health and fitness. However, due to the fact that most of us always have smartphones with us, it makes sense to try and get the most out of our devices. If you are the type that typically has their phone on them, there are some great tools that you can use to help get yourself into shape and into good health.
runtastic is perhaps one of the most popular developers of fitness apps on the Google Play Store. Their flagship app, runtastic Pro is an app that uses GPS to track your movements, whether your are walking, running, or cycling. It will also track your distance, speed, calories burned, and other useful statistics. You will get full-featured maps that show you specifically where you traveled, so you can easily see what type of ground you covered.
This app also provides voice feedback during your workout for each mile or kilometer you traveled. You can also broadcast your run so that friends and family can easily see you as your running and even give you cheers and motivational messages. The app will also auto-pause when you stop moving so you can run safely and responsibly. You can use runtastic.com to find and create routes, sync them to your device so that you can follow them on your next workout.
runtastic has also released a popular suite of specific workout apps. The apps are PushUps Pro, SitUps Pro, PullUps Pro, Squats Pro, and Pedometer Pro — with free versions available for all. The first four are designed to help you achieve a specific number of reps. The apps will slowly work you up to the ultimate number so you aren’t overwhelmed the first time you try the workouts. All of the apps use your phone’s built-in proximity sensor to automatically count the number of reps you do. Additionally, the app will set a countdown timer so you can have a constant break in between each set. There is also an included voice coach for each app that will talk to you as you are working out. All of the apps can share data to several popular social networking websites.
runtastic Pedometer Pro was developed because each person is supposed to take at least 10,000 steps per day in order to remain as active as the amount of food we ingest. The pedometer will automatically record each step you take as well as your speed and distance achieved. It will also tell you how often you stop walking and give you up-to-date statistics so you can easily see how often you are moving on a day-to-day basis.
runtastic Heart Rate Pro will essentially turn your phone into a heart rate monitor. This is possible by using the camera on your Android device. You simply hold your finger up to the camera lens, and the app will give you accurate data, no matter what you are doing.
This app surprisingly does work and is actually a great tool whether you’re using it for personal reasons or just out of curiosity. Keep in mind that this should not be used to replace normal doctor visits, but it is a great tool if you want to get an idea of where your heart rate is at.
Endomondo is a great sports community that focuses on the GPS tracking of sports in order to plot accurate data. Endomondo can help you track running, cycling, and any other form of exercise that relies on distance measurements.
However, the set of features Endomondo provides is far from simple. You will have the ability to track nearly every aspect of your exercise and customize all of the possible settings. There is also fantastic social interaction as you can share and analyze data between friends.
This app is geared towards keeping a simple and well-rounded diet. As the title suggests, you will get access to promoted recipes by Jamie Oliver that you can make in 20 minutes or less. It will also provide you with videos on some of the recipes for easy preparation.
What’s remarkable about this app is that these meals actually do only take 20 minutes to prepare. Additionally, there’s great variety and some unique ideas. This ensures that you won’t have to eat the same meals repeatedly or you won’t stumble across something you already eat on a regular basis.
HealthTap has become an incredibly popular app for people who are looking for medical advice but want to suffer through doctors’ or hospitals’ waiting rooms. It puts people directly in touch with real, licensed doctors to provide accurate and reliable information.
HealthTap also has a great feature that allows other doctors to agree with another doctor’s diagnosis or advice. A second consult is always reassuring and strength in numbers goes a long way, especially when it comes to health.
Fitness Flow is a unique app that focuses on providing you with exercises you can introduce into your regular routine. The exercises are presented to you in HD videos, all led by professional fitness performers and instructors.
This app will allow you to create your own fitness challenges and develop a routine that works best for you. The exercises provided use a combination of natural movements and weight lifting so you can find exercises no matter where you are or how much equipment you have.
Another app from Skimble, Workout Trainer takes a same concept as Fitness Flow, but gets a little more specific. Fitness Flow is designed to be used during a fast-paced workout when a person just needs a quick demonstration. Workout Trainer on the other hand, goes into much more detail for those who aren’t as experienced when it comes to working out.
Workout Trainer no only provides you with HD videos of exercises, but will also give you timed, step-by-step audio, photo and video instructions complete with encouragements. This makes it perfect for those who don’t exactly know where to begin when it comes to fitness. It is also great for inexperienced exercisers who don’t always have a buddy there to help them get motivated.
Lose It! is specifically designed to help you lose weight. It has been featured in several different news publications and is highly recommended by most of the users who have experienced the app. Its simple and attractive user interface will make it easy to stay on top of your goals.
The app will offer you calorie tracking in addition to peer-support so you don’t get distracted from your final goal. Being able to track your nutrients while simultaneously receiving encouragement from your contacts will provide an ideal environment for weight loss.
Strava Run is a unique app that will allow you to track your running and help motivate you by adding a competitive aspect. At its most basic function, this app will track and analyze all of your runs, let you see your progress and compare your achievements to your overall goals.
There is also a fun competitive aspect with Strava Run. You can connect with friends or even people you don’t know and try to beat their times on similar tracks. For example, if you are running on a popular path, you can see if anybody else has logged a run on it as well, then compare both of your times to see where you stand.
Strava Cycling takes the same concept that is used by tons of users on Android and iOS alike, and applies it to cycling, providing a consistent way to keep track of all your exercises, no matter what methods you are using. This app is incredibly similar to Strava Run and includes the ability to track and analyze your rides, in addition to being able to compete against friends and strangers.
Noom Weight Loss Coach is an app designed to help you lose weight by presenting you with tasks that aim to positively effect your life. These tasks were developed by studying specific and scientifically-proven weight-loss methods. It will also save scores so you can easily track your progress.
You will be given informational articles, fun challenges, a daily Noom score to track how you’re doing, activity reminders, plus easy and convenient food and exercise logging. These aspects, if followed correctly, will point you in the right direction to losing the desired amount of weight.
Another great app from Noom, CardioTrainer focuses more on the fitness aspect of getting in shape. It is designed to help you track literally any fitness activity you engage in. This can range from biking to yoga and everything in between. No matter which activity your are doing, this app should be with you.
Noom CardioTrainer offers GPS functionality as well as the accelerometer, so it can not only track distances traveled and other similar aspects, but also serves as a pedometer for indoor exercises. These two tools will provide you with the perfect amount of insight into how effective your training really is.
This app is designed to help you find out what type of nutrition you are getting or not getting when you eat fast food. It supports over 350 restaurants, spanning all of the most popular fast food chains, so no matter where you are eating, you’ll be able to find out the specifics of the meals.
It will also serve as a calorie counter. All you have to do is create the meal that you are ordering in the app, and it will tell you the total number of calories. It will also show you Weight Watchers information if you are enrolled in the program.
Fooducate is an app designed to help you choose healthier food before you leave the super market. This is an interesting way to tackle healthy eating because the best way to eat well is to not buy unhealthy foods in the first place — obviously. Fooducate will help you choose healthy foods while you are in the store, so you don’t come home with anything undesirable.
It works by simply scanning the barcodes of the items you consider buying. Fooducate has access to nutrition information for nearly 200,000 UPCs and will show you both good and bad highlights of the product. It will also suggest healthier alternatives to your selected item.
This is a very unique game that attempts to make running and training fun by turning it into a game. It is designed to immerse your immediately in the experience and make you feel like you are being chased by zombies while you are running, the idea being that you will be motivated to run faster and harder. Zombies, Run! is an audio adventure and you must wear earbuds to get the full experience.
The game will feed you instructions while you are running — there are incredibly realistic orders and voice recordings. Throughout your run, you can collect items and supplied that can then be used to build up your home base.
If you are looking for a more simple way to track what you eat, look no further than MyFitnessPal. This app is quite simple as its primary aim is to track your calorie intake. It boasts the largest database of foods, spanning over 2,000,000 different items. It also allows you to log your exercise hours to track your progress.
MyFitnessPal lets you mindlessly enter in the foods that you have eaten — by remembering your favorite meals — so you can easily see which nutrients are going into your body and which aren’t.
This app is designed specifically to train you and and get you ready to run a 5k race. It will tell you specifically when and how to run for, and let you know the overall length of time you will need to properly prepare for a 5k. It uses virtual coaches to motivate you towards your overall goal.
The app boasts that you will be ready after you have run 3 days a week, 30 minutes a day, and for 9 weeks. It is absurdly easy to do as you simply have to follow the app’s instructions. It also has complete GPS functionality so you can easily see how long you’ve run and how much further you have to go in order to reach your goal.
Another app from Active.com, 5K-to-10K aims to pick up right where Couch-to-5K left off. If you are a graduate of the original app and are looking for something more, then this is your best bet. As the title suggests, the app will guide through the steps necessary to run a 10k race after you have already successfully completed a 5k race.
This app brings back the familiar virtual coaches to help you along your way. It is not as punctual with how long you will need to train to reach your goal, but will still provide you with very specific instructions to guide you through the entire training.
Sticking with the 5K theme, Six to Start is at it again. This time, they adapted their popular Zombies, Run! game to help you specifically train to run a 5k race. Like the previous app, this one sets out a very specific time frame, so you know exactly how long you will have to prepare — an essential feature because time management can be the ultimate weapon when training against a deadline for an important race.
This app uses an 8-week preparation timeframe, while still adapting the most favored aspects of the original game. The app will give you detailed instructions on when to run, jog, walk, or stretch. All of these are delivered while you are listening to a thrilling story sent straight to your headphones.
Fitness Buddy is designed to be your one stop shop when you want to learn new exercises. It will serve as your exercise database, track your favorites and help you discover new ones to push you further towards your goals.
You will be given access to well over 1700 exercises that span all major equipment such as barbells, easy curl bars, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, medicine balls, and many more. Additionally, the app packs over 1000 HD video tutorials as well as high-resolution photos for each exercise.
Another app by Azumio, Glucose Buddy is designed specifically for diabetic people. It will serve as a database to keep track of your blood glucose issue and set up reminders to help you remember your tests.
Glucose Buddy logs your blood glucose, carbohydrate intake, insulin and other medical doses, as well as the various physical activities you perform throughout the day. It can also log more advanced figures such as A1c, blood pressure, and your overall weight.
Continuing with apps provided by Azumio, Instant Heart Rate Pro is a simple app designed to accurately measure your heart rate. It boasts fantastic accuracy as the results are supposedly constantly being tested by doctors and fitness experts. Additionally, there are millions of current users using the app, all of whom have the ability to report on its overall accuracy.
The app essentially works the same way as runtastic’s heart rate monitor. You simply place the tip of your index finger on your phone’s camera, and your heart rate will be shown in a couple of seconds. I have not experienced any point where the monitor was unable to state my current heart rate. This means that the method of doing so is undoubtedly legitimate in addition to the fact that it is used by multiple app developers.
The hardest part about trying to stay healthy is keeping a strong hold on your diet. Let’s face it, eating healthy can become boring and difficult even when you try to keep all of your meals interesting. As a result, it can be very handy to have a tool to help you find healthy recipes to use as opposed to your typical routine.
All of Recipe Search’s data comes from AllTheCooks.com, the #1 community for people who cook. You will find well over 150,000 recipes to chose from, which will certainly light a fire under your normal and typical meal choice. With the use of search filters, you can find recipes based on ingredients that you want to use or perhaps even those you don’t want to use. Of course, all recipes come with detailed and easy-to-follow instructions.
This app is extremely simple and only aims to provide a space where someone can enter their exercises and meals. It is powered by SparkPeople, which is an already well-established diet and fitness site. Unfortunately, the developers still have some work to do if they want to close the gap between the app experience and the web experience.
Thanks to over 2 million foods in its database, you will be able to document all of the food you eat along with all of the exercises you perform. You can also enter your weight and calorie intake so you can get detailed reports and see how both of the figures fluctuate. You will also get linked into SparkPeople’s trophy and motivation system and view their impressive list of health related articles.
Sleep is an extremely important aspect of good health and sleep difficulties can be incredibly detrimental to your health and overall stress level. White Noise is an app that is designed to help you fall asleep. It is touted by Dr. Oz as a miracle for better sleep, but in reality, it simply provides nature’s sounds to help you relax.
Over 40 sounds have been perfectly looped in White Noise so you can easily leave the same sound running and never know when it starts over. It also gives you the ability to import your own sounds if you think they will work better. It can work in the background too, which gives you the ability to use other apps while trying to fall asleep. It will also function as a night-time clock, complete with display and alarm.
Sticking with the sleeping theme, we move on to Sleep as Android. This is perhaps the most impressive app on this list and could potentially be the one that is the most useful. We all know that waking up in the morning can be incredibly difficult. There is nothing worse than being in a deep sleep, dreaming about something, when all of a sudden your alarm starts going off, scaring you awake and immediately making you disoriented. This is a result of your alarm not taking into account what stage of sleep you are in.
As most of us know, throughout the night, we vary between stages of light sleep and deep sleep. Logically, we are much more tired when we are awkakened by our alarms while we are in a deep sleep than when in a light sleep. With this app, you put your phone next to your bed and the app will track your movements. This makes the app aware as to whether or not you are in a light sleep or a deep sleep. The app will then wake you up when you are in a light sleep that is closest to your alarm time, making you less tired in the morning.
If you want to extend the feature capabilities of Sleep as Android, there are 3 add-ons available for purchase, and 1 additional add-on that is not longer in service. The first and most popular one is SleepStatswhich gives you access to advanced sleep statistics such as sleep length, debt, wake-up and fall asleep hours, and smart early wake-ups. You can also visualize ratings in week, 14-days, month, quarter, half year and yearly graphs.
The next is Sleep Backup which provides the ability to backup all of your sleep graphs to either Dropbox or Google Drive. You can set the app to automatically upload new graphs, or you can just manually upload the ones you want. It can be incredibly useful when you want to sync your data across multiple devices.
The next add-on is SleepWidget which is just a widget for your homescreen, not an actual app. It will show your latest sleep graphs along with the next alarm that is set to go off. It will also display suggested times for you to go to bed, brush your teeth, and eat your last meal for the night. You can also begin sleep tracking just by pressing the droid on the widget.
To clear up any confusion that might arise when doing research on this suite of apps, there is a 4th add-on, but it involves a Google Health account which has been discontinued by Google, making the add-on useless.
Most people, whether they are enthusiastic about health or not, know what WebMD is. It is perhaps the most popular database of medical information available to the general public. It has become a household name and is constantly used by families and individuals alike. The Android app attempts to make it easier to access the site’s information as compared to the normal web interface.
It features a symptom checker to learn more about the things that concern you, then gives you access to conditions and possible treatments. You can also search the extensive database of drugs, vitamins, and other supplements.
Nike Training Club can be a confusing app for people who don’t do research on the app before hand. It is essentially a personal training app geared towards women, however, that is not specified in the app’s Play Store description. Still, all of the exercises are specifically done by women and the app even offers the option to link to a Nike Women account. That being said, this app is truly fantastic due to the fact that most similar apps are overwhelmingly geared towards men.
Nike Training Club will offer 114 workouts designed to specifically work on tone and strength. You can unlock exclusive workouts from top female fitness instructors and get specific audio instructions from them. You can even set your workouts to your own music, and wrap everything up by viewing progress reports and analysis.
Nike+ Running is used completely independently of Nike’s other “plus” devices and services. It is essentially just a GPS tracking app that will provide you with typical data like distance, speed, and traditional monitoring methods to see your progress over the course of several runs. It will generally behave like Strava Run and other GPS apps that track your exercise.
However, Nike+ has some extra features that put it ahead of its competitors. For starters, if you post to Facebook that you have started a run, you can get in-ear cheers from people who see your post. You can also check-in with the people you run with and get the path you traveled mapped out to share it with others. Another awesome feature is PowerSongs — this is a particular song that gets you motivated to run fasterand can be triggered with a press of a button when you need it most.
MyTracks is the official app from Google that aims to use GPS features to track your physical activities. You will find that it is incredibly similar to several others on the list like Strava Run and Cycling and Nike+ Runner. The main difference is how the app natively works within Google Maps. Additionally, it can track both running and cycling.
MyTracks will display your information live as well as show a path of your travels while you’re exercising. Additionally, you will hear audio information, like an alert for each newly completed mile. You can also use Google’s services as well as other social websites to share your achievements and tracks. MyTracks also supports external devices such as Zephyr HxM Bluetooth heart rate monitor, Polar WearLink Bluetooth heart rate monitor, and ANT+ heart rate and speed distance monitors.
*MyTracks has recently gone open-source and is not longer officially developed by Google Inc.
JEFIT is a fantastic service when you’re looking to get physically fit. It supposedly boasts the largest online database of exercises and routines. Once you find exercises that you are interested in, you can use the workout routine manager to pre-plan you workouts to keep track of them — a very convenient feature.
This app also puts you in touch with your online JEFIT profile so all of your data and achievements will sync to the cloud. It features a smart logging system that can automatically record the number of reps you do in addition to recording your 1 rep maximum. As expected with any workout app, you get visual graphs that track your weight and overall muscle size.
Daily Workouts is a suite of applications all combined into one, easy to use app. The concept behind the apps is to provide simple, relatively easy workouts that anyone can do every day. The idea being that if you are able to do something every day, then you will be able to achieve long-term progress. The app will provide workouts between 5 and 10 minutes long, so you always have a workout to do no matter how much free time you have.
Daily Workouts provides the following apps: Daily AB Workout, Daily ARM Workout, Daily BUTT Workout, Daily CARDIO Workout, and Daily LEG Workout. You can additionally do a general body workout which will pull exercises from all of the other apps randomly. You will also receive a video with each exercise specifically telling you how to do it safely. You will also be able to create your own custom routine from all of the apps at your disposal.
*All of the included apps are available separately in free versions and paid versions at $0.99
For those who are looking for a simple app to track their meals, Calories Counter Pro is it. Most health and fitness apps come with a wealth of features, whether you need them or not. This app attempts to keep everything simple by providing simple data entry for only the essential aspects of your health. It is powered by MyNetDiary.com, which is a user-friendly and comprehensive database of food products.
It makes looking up the foods incredibly simple due to the inclusion of real time search and a barcode scanner. The former will help you find foods faster, while the latter will allow you to see nutrition information before you even buy the product. The app will display 45 nutrients, including all of the ones you are most interested in. You can also track your exercises and weight as well as view analysis and charts relevant to the information you’ve provided.
With the new year off to a full swing, health and fitness seem to be on the minds of everybody as most people aim for a fresh start each new year. Luckily, there are many apps that can help you better yourself in nearly every aspect of your health — from your diet to your exercise, disease control and quality of sleep — and that no matter how experienced or unexperienced you may be.