Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The 25 Best Fitness Apps for 2016


Staying fit and healthy and losing weight were the two most popular New Year's resolutions for 2015, and doubtless the same is true for 2016, too. If your idea of a new you for the new year includes ramping up your fitness and trimming down your waist, you'll want some tried-and-true fitness apps on your phone to help keep you on track.

Mobile apps are ideal assistants for health, fitness, and weight-loss resolutions because they are always with you and they're quite personal. Fitness isn't something we can take care of in just one day. It requires daily habits and lifestyle changes, and a few little nudges in the right direction from your mobile phone might make all the difference.

Whether you're trying to lose weight, walk more steps in a day, or make time for a seven-minute morning workout in your living room, fitness apps can help.

Some of the apps highlighted here are tracking tools. You can log workouts, count calories eaten, and collect stats about all your runs to see overtime how you're improving. Fitness apps can also be coaching apps that put you in touch with a personal trainer or nutritionist who will check in with you once a week. And some, of course, combine all these things.

One of my personal favorite apps for health and fitness is MyFitnessPal. This free app lets you count calories that you consume as well as tally up the calories you expend every day. It's compatible with a number of fitness trackers, which means MyFitnessPal can keep track of the calories you burn automatically by pulling them in from your tracker. MyFitnessPal is wonderful at helping you become more aware of your eating habits and just how much exercise it takes to burn off the food you eat.

Another app I love is The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout because it helps anyone get some amount of exercise in a very short amount of time. Unlike other seven-minute workout apps, The Johnson & Johnson app adjusts its level of difficulty based on your current fitness level. It also has workouts that are longer than seven minutes for days when you have a little more time. It's great for busy travellers, too, because it doesn't require anything more than a chair, so you can easily bang out this workout in a hotel room.

Not everyone in the market for a great fitness app wants to count calories or get coached through a quick workout. Some are just looking for a little music to motivate them. Music workout apps were a hot item in 2015. FIT Radio, for example, specializes in create playlists that you can play over your headphones for a variety of workouts, such as running and yoga. All the songs in the playlist have a consistent beat. The music streaming service and app Spotify has a great feature for Premium subscribers that lets them find their running tempo and get songs with a beat that match it. Once the app finds your tempo, it leaves the beats-per-minute setting alone, so your music becomes a metronome of sorts. RockMyRun has a similar feature, only the music it plays speeds up and slows down in real time as your cadence changes.

Other apps tap into your competitive side to motivate you to work out. For example, Strava is a running and bicycling app that lets you compete against every other person who has signed up to use the app. You use Strava to track your runs and bicycle rides, and other Strava members do the same. The app collects everyone's routes and times, breaks them into segments, and then tells you who has the best time along different stretches of roads and trails. If you're the fastest on the road, everyone else using Strava near you will know it.

Another superb app for competitive types is Pact (formerly called GymPact), you can wager money on whether you'll go to the gym as often as you say you will. The app uses your GPS location to verify whether you actually made it to the gym and stayed to work out. If you hit your goal, you'll earn a chunk of change.

Perhaps you're more motivated by helping others than by winning a pot of cash yourself. There's an app for that, too. Charity Miles is a workout tracking app for runs, walks, and bicycle rides that donates a little money for every mile you complete. The app developers find corporate sponsors who make donations on your behalf for any charity you choose from a list.

No matter what kind of motivation or daily prodding you need to meet your fitness goals, there's an app that can push you in the right direction.

Charity Miles

Earn money for charities every time you run, walk, or bicycle by using the free Charity Miles app. Corporate sponsors (whose information you'll see as a backdrop image in the app) agree to donate a few cents for every mile you complete. Browse the app's list of charities, find the one that you support, and then hit the road. When a lot of people use Charity Miles, those little bits of money add up.

Free, $4.99 upgrade optional

The best bicycle-ride tracking app I've tested is Cyclemeter by Abvio. This iOS-only app collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, contains several well-thought-out features, and appeals to fitness enthusiasts who participate in more than one sport. Despite the name, you can use Cyclemeter to track walks, runs, and other activities. It does not include a calorie-counting component, but it is packed with data about your biking outings.

See the rest of the list here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2485287,00.asp

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