You want to stay healthy and get into a fitness regime. You even enrol for sessions with a personal trainer at the nearby gym, but can't motivate yourself enough to go there regularly. Well, there is another way out now to achieve your fitness goals. Our smartphones, which are capable of doing almost everything, can act as our workout partners. How? In every app store, there is a 'health and fitness ' category that has many free as well as paid apps to help you get up from your couch. The 'do-it-yourself' apps, with some basic workout sessions, will encourage you to exercise anywhere, anytime and stay fit. We take a look at five of the most popular and accurate apps:
- C25K BY RUNDOUBLE: Free/ iOS, Android If you are unsure about going out for a run yet want to start, C25K by RunDouble can be a perfect app to motivate you. When installed, the app asks you to key in your weight before starting the run. Based on your weight, it shows you the workout plan for nine weeks. You can choose the session and there is a voice tutorial that guides you through the run. It starts with a five minute warm up followed by eight repetitions of 60-second running and 90-second brisk walking. There is also a five minute cool-down walk. The regime remains the same for three days in the first week and is then changed to five minutes warm-up walk, six repetitions of 90 seconds running, two minutes of brisk walking and gentle five minute cool down walk. Week by week, it changes for you to achieve more activity. You can also create a custom run by selecting time and distance. There is also an option to choose a plan, which includes fun run, couch to 5K, 10K starter plans, improver and event plans.
- MOVES: Free/ iOS, Android Fitness bands that track your footsteps and the amount of calories you have burnt are a fad these days. But if you are unsure about wearing one, Moves is the perfect app for you. Once installed, the app is always on and continues to track the number of steps you have taken. It also calculates the distance you have travelled while walking, cycling or running. The app tracks your activity, places and routes automatically. It also automatically detects the difference between running, walking, cycling and transportation movement. It asks for access to your location, which means you will have to turn on the location services, which drains the battery. The user interface is pretty neat and easy to master. Other than circles displaying the data, you can also view the activity in the form of a timeline and an activity map at the end of the day. The app also points out whether you were active or sedentary during the day.
- SLEEPBOT: Free/ iOS, Android A neat sleep tracker app, it also offers a smart alarm to wake you up. When you go to sleep, you can select track motion, smart alarm and record sound. You should keep your phone close to your body so that it can record sound and even track the body movement. The app uses an accelerometer to track movements throughout the night and make sure the app is launched on the screen. It also records snoring, sleep talking or any other noise/sound. This information can be accessed by clicking on the spikes in the noise graph within the app. For smart alarm, just like some fitness bands, even SleepBot detects the lightest sleep phase based on the movements and sounds, and then nudges you to wake at the optimal time. Within the app, there is a tutorial that, besides guiding you on how to use it, also shares information on sleep, how to improve sleep and what things will help you in staying awake. This is a no-nonsense app focused only on your sleep patterns.
- FIRSTRUN: Free/ Android Just like the C25K Fitness Trainer, this app also asks you to select a programme to start with. It has two training sessions - 5K and 10K. The 5K session will train you to run 30 minutes non-stop in nine weeks. It includes 27 sessions that one has to practice thrice a week for nine weeks. The 10K session will train you for 65 minutes of non-stop run spanning over 12 weeks (four times a week) with 48 sessions. Once you select the session, you can start running. For the first session, the running time is 28:30 minutes, including 20:30 minutes of walking and eight minutes of running. The app also shows the distance you have travelled and you can even pause the session. There is also a treadmill mode that you can activate. You need not go outdoors to use this app, which has a neat interface.
- GOOGLE FIT: Free/ Android Capable of tracking your walk, run or even cycling, the Google Fit app works across your phone, computer or even an Android Wear smart device. By default, the app has put up an hour of workout as a goal. This, however, can be changed through the settings. For instance, to start with, I changed my workout goal time to 30 minutes. If you wish, you can also key in your weight and height. It tracks your daily activity, progress towards the goal and weight. The app automatically tracks the activity, compiles it at the end of the day and even measures it against the set goal. And if by any chance you are using an Android Wear device, it will track the data and sync it with the app.
In the beginning, one is all pumped up about fitness, but the motivation level tends to go away soon after. Hopefully, this won't be the case once you start using these apps.