On Your Health

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The Best Apps for Your Health

Technology can tempt us to be sedentary. It’s never been easier to lounge on the couch and binge Netflix or spend hours glued to the phone. While it’s easy to get distracted by our screens, don’t lock your devices away just yet. You can turn them into tools for fitness! Smartphones and watches are quickly becoming handheld personal trainers, and fitness-focused apps are readily available for all devices.

Maybe you’re ready to train for a 5K or need a workout plan when you hit the weights. Maybe you just need help holding yourself accountable. Whatever it is, there’s a perfect app waiting for you to download.

Setting fitness goals with apps

Not all fitness apps are created equal. Before rushing to download every app on the market, assess what your fitness goals are and what types of exercise interest you. If you’re training for a distance run, look for apps that plan cardio workouts and running exercises. If you’re more focused on core strength or weightlifting, choose apps that provide workout guides for your level of fitness and experience.

When you know what your fitness goals look like, begin researching apps that train in those specific areas. Look at reviews and read app descriptions before downloading. Some apps may be free while others cost money to access. Some apps have monthly subscriptions but constantly update or add workout plans. Decide which is best for you.

If you’re new to working out, it’s best to consult your physician to see if you’re healthy enough to begin an exercise routine. Start slow and gradually increase the difficulty of workouts at a safe rate.  No matter the type of exercise, you should make sure you have the proper equipment, like weights or well-fitting running shoes before getting started.

woman runner looking at her fitbit

Best apps for cardio and running

The beauty of running apps is that you can take them on any trail or path you run. Look for apps that are able to track your miles and/or provide interval training to increase speed and improve conditioning.

Want to know more about running before you get started? Check out our post about how to start a running program.

Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K is a perfect app for runners with little to no experience. It starts runners out slow and gradually increases the amount of continual running over time. At the end of the nine-week period, users should be able to comfortably complete a 5K (or 3.1 mile) running distance. The app also works as a motivator by sending reminders or push notifications to your phone screen.

Once runners feel comfortable running this distance, they can move on to other apps to keep increasing their distance and stamina.

Price/Subscription: One-time fee of $2.99

Nike+ Run Club

The Nike+ Run Club has been on the market for nearly 12 years. The app tracks running distance and maps out running paths through GPS technology. It also can help improve your running through audio-guided workout plans for interval training. Even more fun is the in-app running playlist to keep you motivated with perfect running music. There’s also a social media aspect to the app where runners can share their successes, tips and running photos on an app-specific profile and social newsfeed.

Price/Subscription: FREE

woman using at fitness app on her smart phone in gym class

Best apps for strength training

The key to keeping up with your workouts consistently is making sure you don't get bored. This is especially true for circuit training and strength training. Look for apps that offer a variety of workout plans that target different areas of the body. Always start out with appropriate weights for your size and level of fitness and be mindful of form. Research and practice best form for weightlifting and core exercises to make sure your workouts are as effective as possible. If you’re unsure where to start, consult a professional trainer.

Freeletics Bodyweight

What’s so neat about Freeletics Bodyweight? It doesn’t require any equipment, meaning it’s perfect for exercising at home or when traveling. All the workout plans are based on body weight and can be tailored to your current level of fitness. Rookies and workout buffs can benefit from the timed workout sessions.

In the pro version of the app, a “coach” will assess your fitness level and recommend a starting point for your workout plan. It will also track your progress and make recommendations as you move through different workouts and levels. If you need more motivation, you can connect to the app’s social feed and share your progress with millions of other users.

Price/Subscription: FREE; Coach Subscription for $34.99 per month

Daily Burn

No gym is needed with the Daily Burn app. It wants users to be able to work out anywhere at any time with its daily workout videos. The app’s video classes include HITT (high-intensity interval training) and core-strengthening workouts, like Pilates. The app can be tailored to set personalized workout plans and goals, meaning it’s perfect for both beginners and more advanced users. In the premium version, users can access the full library of classes beyond the daily videos. The app is also available on smart devices like Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast.

Price/Subscription: First-month free trial offered; Basic version for $14.95 per month; Premium version for $19.95 per month

Best apps for stretching and yoga

Don’t underestimate the power of stretching. Adding in a session or two of yoga into your fitness routine can help improve core strength and increase flexibility.

Yoga Wake Up

Not a morning person? Yoga Wake Up will help you wake up calmly and stay limber. Perfect for yoga newbies, the app will help you stretch first thing out of bed. If you’re looking to have a healthier morning routine, this yoga app is the one for you.

Price/Subscription: FREE; Subscription available for $6.99 per month or $46.99 per year

Pocket Yoga

If you need more than just a morning stretch, download and try Pocket Yoga. The app lets you dive deep into your personal yoga practice. It offers 27 different audio-guided sessions that vary in difficulty and provides visuals guides for correct posture and alignment. If you provide the yoga mat, this app can turn your home into a high-dollar yoga studio.

Price/Subscription: One-time fee of $2.99; In-app purchases to unlock premium features

Best apps for nutrition tracking

If you’re ready to practice overall healthy living, you may be making a few changes to your diet. Whether you need help tracking what you’ve eaten over the course of the day or are experimenting with tracking macronutrients, there are apps available to help you.

Always meet with a certified nutritionist before making big changes in your daily diet to make sure you eat a balanced diet that supports your fitness goals.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal can be used to log your weight and daily exercise, but it’s also an outstanding tool to help you keep track of your meals and snacks. For people wanting to lose weight or make healthier choices, it’s a great accountability resource. You can set goals in the app and use the wide database of food items to help analyze food labels and make healthier decisions when eating out.

Price/Subscription: FREE; Premium subscription for $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year

My Macros+

For people getting serious about tracking macronutrients, My Macros+ is a great app to keep track of your remaining nutrients for the day. The app allows users to set personalized goals and provides daily reporting so that you can track goals over time.

Price/Subscription: FREE; Pro Subscription for $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year

Use your apps at the INTEGRIS Healthy Living Center YMCA

Not interested in a digital workout experience or need a place to work out? No problem! Check out the INTEGRIS Healthy Living Center YMCA in Oklahoma City for classes or personal training. From cardio and strength training to tai chi and weightlifting, it offers a full range of services and equipment for overall fitness.

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