Seven fitness apps to get you moving
Have a New Year’s resolution to get in shape but abhor the gym? Fitness apps may be the solution.
Technology has advanced greatly, and current fitness apps provide people with much better access to information, said Jeana Anderson Cohen, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor who founded and operates the fitness website www.asweatlife.com.
“These apps and programs, videos and tools allow them to be efficient with their time and their bodies,” she said.
And a gym membership isn’t needed, either. “If you have a body, you have a gym,” Cohen said.
While there aren’t as many new fitness apps being created because of the rise of wearable fitness devices like Fitbit, which create their own motivations and experiences for users, fitness trainers picked their favourite new and established apps to help anyone with a smartphone get exercising.
This new subscription-based app has videos of certified trainers leading classes. Many of the classes focus on flexibility and strengthening exercises like yoga and Pilates, but it also has weightlifting and nutrition classes, with single classes and series available. Cohen is especially pleased the videos show trainers with varied body types, and the videos are accessible to people of all fitness levels.
“They also have body-weight workouts that are accessible to anyone no matter where they are,” she said.
One of the easiest ways to start a new fitness regime is to simply walk more. Dr. Bridget Scott, of Scott Chiropractic, recommended a new walking game app from the founders of DietBet called StepBet. Users bet against themselves on personalised targets, and they can win money when they reach their goals. The competition angle can be a catalyst to get sedentary people moving, she said.
“When there’s money and competition involved, there’s motivation. And you can’t cheat because the Fitbit tracks your progress,” Scott said.
Cohen and Scott said Sworkit’s videos are good for beginners, although they’re accessible to anyone with fitness goals. Scott said it’s her favourite recent app. “It’s free, simple and can be customised to your body type and specific needs. I love the variety of strength, stretching, cardio, Pilates and yoga options, all with no gym or necessary equipment. It also syncs with MyFitnessPal and Google Fit, among others.” Scott said. Free and subscription versions are available.
4. Spotify Running
The music app Spotify has been around for a while, but recently it added a section devoted to runners. It uses an algorithm to create special playlists based on the user’s movement. Tracy Chudnow, chief sweat officer at WheelPower Studio, swears by it.
“This app measures your running pace and then finds songs with a beats-per-minute to match it. For me, it’s all about being on the beat and losing myself in the music. This app helps with that,” she said. Free or subscription versions are available.
5. Zombies Run!
Need some distraction while exercising? Christian Koshaba, owner of Three60fit Gym, says this interactive game app is fun and offers a high-intensity workout. Users listen to a story and pick from 200 “missions” or create their own interval training. “(Users) gather supplies, plot rescues and survive in the end times while getting in a great workout,” he said.
6. Daily Workouts Free
For beginners who don’t know where to start and aren’t ready to commit funds, Lisa Payne, a personal trainer who works with private and corporate clients, likes Daily Workouts Free, a no-frills app. “It’s just 10 workouts and covers the basics. It’s very short. It’s great for people who want to get up early in the morning and get something in,” she said.
7. Fitness Buddy
For people who want to know the “why” behind their exercise, Payne recommended subscription-based app Fitness Buddy. Not only does it have a multitude of exercises, it shows users the muscle groups being worked and other exercises to compliment the moves, making it very educational. Plus there’s a community where users can discuss what they’ve been doing.
“They may tell you how to do a squat, but also the biomechanics behind it and what I need to improve on, and it gives proper form. Form is really huge, so people don’t get injured. It’s like having a personal trainer in your house without having to hire one,” Payne said.
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