We all know we should exercise more. In the U.S., government recommendations are for 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week along with two sessions of strength training. You can cut back on the minutes with increased intensity, and of course don’t forget about stretching.
With so much to do, the hardest part usually comes with getting started. So, if you’re into tech and the latest apps, then why not use your interest to get off the couch and start moving? After all, it’s hard to find the motivation and time for a workout every day — so every bit of encouragement helps. Here are some fitness-oriented apps that just might give you that motivation:
1. Couch to 5K
One of the more popular newbie running apps, C25K as it’s known, claims that its program can take almost anyone from couch potato status to running five kilometers, or 30 minutes, in just nine weeks. The app will log your miles and pace, and give you verbal motivation with one of several coaching voices. There is a slew of other helpful data, too, just to keep you trying to beat the last round.
This fitness app gives you a seven-minute workout, complete with fun goals and rewards to entertain you while you exercise. You don’t need any special equipment or much time. There are different programs for upper and lower body, as well as your core. Stay motivated and focused while you exercise with visual and verbal cues.
Runtastic’s Results app is a customized training plan that uses your own bodyweight. There is no need for a gym or special equipment. There is a large online support community, plus a health and nutrition guide and hundreds of videos. You can share your experiences through the app with Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
4. 30-Day Fitness Challenges
Choose your medicine from one of the many fitness challenges that focus on a certain part of the body. From your abs and triceps to your glutes, you can sculpt a new body with the various programs. Or, try one of the squat or push-up challenges. There are even activity-based challenges like the Homerun challenge and the Little Black Dress challenge.
Created by Jawbone, this app is truly marketed to couch potatoes. UP means “Get Up” and gives you a SmartCoach who helps evaluate your habits and gets you moving. UP also helps you to understand your sleep and diet activity. It connects with Apple’s Health and easily integrates with Jawbone’s devices.
With Simply Work It, or Sworkit, you are in control by creating your own targeted workout goals. You can practice Yoga or Pilates, do cardio, stretch, or focus on building strength. You create a custom routine and duration and then Sworkit will randomize the exercises to meet your goals. The key is in the variety. You don’t get bored doing the same old thing.
It’s no surprise that social media has integrated itself into exercise apps. Fitocracy is known as the social network for exercise junkies. The key to this one is gamification and peer pressure—in a good way. Fitocrats have their own social feed to view others and compare themselves, as well as to share workouts. If you’re really confident, you can post your own data to Twitter and Facebook.
Whether your fitness goals include six-pack abs, getting ready for the beach or just becoming healthier in your own body, there’s an app for that. So ditch the personal trainer and the expensive gym membership and make an app your exercise buddy. Or, go social and share it with the world.