Turn Your Phone Into a Fitness Coach
Ready to go out this summer and get in shape? Your smartphone’s hardware, software, and an app store filled with programs can help lead the way. Here is a guide on how to get the most out of your device.
Here is your health
In 2014, Apple and Google both announced dashboard apps to track personal health and wellness, and companies have been improving those apps ever since.
The Google Fit app works on both Android and iOS operating systems. (It can also import health data from Wear OS, Apple Watches, and third-party apps.) Working with the American Heart Association, Google Fit is helping users set activity goals to earn “Heart points” for better cardiovascular health. This year, Google announced that the app could also use the phone’s camera to measure heart and respiratory rates for informational purposes (but not as a medical diagnosis); Google’s Pixel phones were the first to benefit from this feature.
Apple Health and Google Fit both include basic tools like a pedometer, which uses the phone’s motion sensor to track your steps, but the fitness and diet apps can provide more detailed information.
Get a new (exercise) routine
If you are looking for a workout app for an exercise plan that goes beyond step counting, you have plenty of options. Most of the popular programs are available for Android and iOS. These include Jefit Workout Planner and Skimble Workout Trainer; both offer specific exercise and routine guides for a small subscription fee.
The Peloton app ($ 13 per month) has video workouts, and Google Fit has a list of free workout videos on YouTube. For those who are established in the Apple ecosystem, the Apple Fitness + service costs $ 10 per month and requires an Apple Watch with your iPhone to monitor your vital signs.
Runners and cyclists who wish to measure their progress have a variety of applications to consider. For beginners, the $ 3 Couch to 5K app provides a training plan for somewhat stationary beginners to build your way into a solid running routine. Runkeeper and MapMyRun use the phone’s location services to record and plot routes; both are free with in-app purchases. Cyclemeter and Strava are also inexpensive apps that track running, cycling and more.
Keep a food diary
If you want to focus on dietary adjustments – eating more protein, consuming less sodium, shedding pandemic pounds – and not manually saving food labels, consider a dedicated nutrition app. Many of them are free to download, but come with built-in subscriptions for personalized food planning, community support, and other features.
Among the applications in this category, Lose It! focuses on calorie counting and weight loss, and can share its data with Apple Health, Google Fit, and other apps. Loose it! has a huge database of nutritional information for millions of items and can scan package labels to add new foods. MyFitnessPal is a similar program with a database of 11 million foods, a huge online community, and the ability to sync and share data with 50 other fitness apps and devices.
Make your way
Applying maps on your phone can help you become more active in general. For example, just enter “gyms near me” to see where you can work out, or “hike” to find trails nearby.
Last year, Apple Maps and Google Maps added new features for urban cyclists, including bike routes in some cities, the location of bike-sharing docks around the city, and elevation information. In Google Maps for Android and iOS, you can also press the Layers button to see bike routes and terrain. So you can really prepare for all the non-metaphorical climbs on your trip.
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