Ready to get fit? There’s an app for that
Technology meets the fitness and self-improvement craze. Smartphone apps help people lose weight and change bad habits. Women in particular are drawn to the new toys.
The (Hackensack, N.J.) Record
Going for a run, losing a few pounds or finally exorcising a bad habit? Of course, there are apps for all of that and more, and more people are filling their smartphones with them.
Nearly 20 percent of smartphone owners have at least one health app on their device, according to a Pew Research Center study released in late 2012, with exercise, diet and weight the most popular kind. The study found that women — those younger than 50, better educated, and with an annual household income of more than $75,000 — are more likely to have downloaded a health app.
There are plenty of choices (and seemingly more every day) for those women and anyone else who wants to add some health and fitness to their digital world.
Now is as good a time as any to download one or two. Each new year offers a good time to reassess priorities and find new ways to achieve life goals. Here are some health and fitness apps that may help.
WHAT: Energy and activity tracker that helps you connect daily routine to energy level by keeping track of your activities such as sleep, diet, stress, mood and exercise to help you identify and change the energy-sucking behavior. Users get energy tips, a weekly report to track progress and help prioritizing healthy habits for the upcoming week.
HOW MUCH: Free
FOR: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
WHAT: This app plays off basic principles of human nature — money and social pressures motivate people. To get people to the gym, Fitsby has them challenge friends to a game of gym check-ins. Users can play for fun (and motivation) or for real money. A GPS system confirms the user is at the gym and he must stay there for at least a half-hour before checking out. At the end of the game, the winner(s) take the pot.
HOW MUCH: Free
FOR: Android, coming soon for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
WHAT: This app lets you set goals for health, fitness and anything you want to improve. Want to read more, be kinder, drink more water, be more productive? There are more than 300,000 habits to choose from. Set the goal and get motivated by tracking habits, marking, monitoring and seeing progress and seeking social-networking support if desired.
HOW MUCH: Free
FOR: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad; coming soon for Android
DEVELOPER: Lift Worldwide Inc.
WHAT: A unique option in a glut of running apps, Cruise Control matches music selections to the pace users want to run. There are four options — in Free Run, the app automatically selects music to match your running rhythm; Pace lets users pick a target speed and if they match their running rhythm to the music, it keeps them there; Heart Rate is much like Pace, if the runner matches steps to the rhythm of the music, it will get the user to the targeted heart rate; and Cadence has users pick target-stride rate and the app adjusts the songs to play at the same tempo.
HOW MUCH: $4.99
FOR: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
DEVELOPER: Hyperion Industries
Azumio Fitness Trainer
WHAT: A big developer of health and fitness apps, Azumio added Fitness Trainer to its catalog in December. The app gives users more than 600 exercises and more than 100 home workouts — including seven body-part specific workouts — using only body weight, dumbbells or resistance bands. Sport specific workouts (for skiing or cycling, for example) are offered as in-app purchases.
HOW MUCH: $2.99
FOR: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad