These days we use our smartphones for almost everything—phone calls, texts, emails, paying bills, playing games. The list goes on and on. We can also use our phone to help maintain our fitness and health. That’s right, there are more than 165,000 apps currently available that help you get fit or live a healthier life. Here are some of the options.
Path to improved health
Getting motivated and starting an exercise program can be extremely difficult. That’s where fitness apps come in. Developers have created apps that help you exercise in a variety of ways. Some apps inspire you to exercise by making it into a game. For example, you may have to run away from zombies that are breathing down your neck. Others provide you with specific workouts to help you achieve your goals. These could include running, body-weight exercises, or yoga. Still others focus on aligning music with your exercise habits to give you motivation. Some are designed to recognize the rhythm of your running or walking, and then they find music to match.
Getting ready for an athletic event can be an intimidating process. Some apps are available that can help you get going or stay motivated. Some have specialized programs that help you go from your couch to participating in a 5K. Others help you keep track of your exercise sessions. They collect data and then translate it into graphs so you can easily monitor your progress.
Many people use apps to help them eat better and to keep track of their nutrition. Popular apps help you track your diet. They have databases of different foods. You just scan a barcode or choose from the food and the portion size. The app tells you how many calories you’ve eaten, plus other nutritional information about the food. Other apps let you know how nutritious different foods in the grocery store are. They can even be personalized with your height, weight, age, and allergies. This allows the app to score how healthy foods are for you individually.
Some apps are designed specifically with weight loss in mind. These often have a combination of features from exercise apps and nutrition apps. Many include databases of foods so you can track your calories throughout the day. Some are set up like personal coaches. They allow you to set up challenges for yourself and earn rewards. Some even use money to motivate you. You make a bet that you’re going to lose a certain amount of weight. If you win the bet, you get cash. If you don’t win, you lose the money.
The upside of apps
Apps have a lot of advantages. They are convenient, only as far away as your phone. They can send you reminders so you don’t forget to add your last meal to your diary. And they are customizable, so they tell you what you need to know for your own personal goals. In addition, since they are electronic, many include forums of users. You can easily connect with other people for extra support. Some even connect to your personal fitness tracking device. This allows you to keep all of your fitness and health information in one place.
Things to consider
Anyone can develop and publish an app. Just because it’s on your app store, doesn’t mean it’s the right type of program for you. Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you find an app you like for exercise, talk to your doctor about it.
There are thousands of different apps available that can help you exercise more, lose weight, or improve your health. Some cost money. Others are free. Some are free to download but offer in-app purchases. Do some research. Read the customer reviews to find out what the app offers. Download it through your app store or play store so you know it’s safe. Try out different apps to find the one that works best for you.
Questions to ask your doctor
- Will a fitness app help me lose weight or get fit?
- Can you recommend any apps to help me?
- How do I know if the workouts on an app are good for me?
- Are diet plans in different apps safe?
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.