Motivation through fitness apps

What is a fitness app?

Fitness apps, or fitness aids, are simply a way of tracking exercise variables in your life. Easy, at a basic level a count of steps throughout the day is a fitness app, an aid to determining how much exercise you have done during the day. From that basic starting point there is a raft of different features built into a multitude of apps on the market.

Why should I consider getting an app?

Excellent question and one we can answer with a single word, MOTIVATION. Fitness apps provide a simple, visual representation of what you have achieved, and achievement is a cornerstone of happiness and wellbeing. Achievements give us the confidence to move forward and act as a driver to strive for something more. An app won’t make you go and exercise, or set yourself a challenge, because you are the only one that can decide to make that effort. An app will track your progress towards that goal and reinforce your intermediate achievements as you progress towards your goal.

Where do I start?

With such a multitude of wearable and smartphone-based apps to choose from it can be a daunting task to determine which app is best suited to your situation and requirements. So where do you start? If you Google fitness apps you will be overwhelmed with choice; nutrition-tracking, exercise-tracking, women’s fitness, workout, yoga, those with workout music, running trainers, meditation, etc. Basically an app for every need.

As well as the phone apps there is also a massive number of choice of wearable exercise tracking devices such as FitBit, sports watches, etc. Most of the wearable tracking equipment can be linked to dedicated apps, and generally those purchasing wearables tend to start with the dedicated option/s and only progress to try other apps if they find the dedicated ones don’t fully fit their requirements.

In this article we will focus on the free phone apps because they are a really good starting point to assess your particular needs. Free doesn’t necessarily mean little value, in fact some rival quite expensive options in the level of information they provide. The list below is not comprehensive, we have selected a mix of apps that we know work well for friends and acquaintances and some that looked good on paper. We think these apps provide good options for getting started in the world of fitness tracking. The three apps listed have IOS and Android versions. We have not tested the functionality of these apps for ease of use, but their popularity seems to suggest they are pretty simple and reliable to use. Ultimately you will need to decide which app/s best suit your requirements as you adapt to their use.

Map My Run/Map My fitness

This app records almost any form of workout on your phone and syncs to some wearable devices as well. You can set your own challenges in the app and map your progress to completion and learn to train smarter with their adaptive training plans.

Addidas Runtastic

Record workouts, runs, rides, etc., and check out your statistics. Free version is pretty basic but more than adequate for most beginners or social athletes. Capability to sync with Apple music and to access more advanced data at a cost. Join challenges to increase your motivation to achieve.

Nike Run Club (NRC)

Begin tracking your runs or choose from a selection of guided runs. Those options include a “Getting started” collection, short and long runs, speed runs, treadmill runs, a half-marathon guided plan and more.

Find Your Motivation

No matter what kind of motivation or daily prodding you need to meet your fitness goals, there's an app that can push you in the right direction. For those who need a little more incentive to get moving, and are prepared to pay a little the app below may just hit the spot and is possibly the most interesting way we have seen to get your kids in on the action!

Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run! is unlike any other app on this list. In addition to having training plans and tracking your runs, the app heavily incorporates a narrative game into your cardio routine. When you download the app, you’ll be introduced to the zombie-themed story line that requires you to complete “missions” that are equivalent to walks, jogs or runs in the real world. A free version provides you with 4 free missions, and one free mission a week. But be warned, you will have to pay if you get hooked!

Story line aside, the app offers 5k expert, 10k beginner, 10k intermediate, half marathon beginner and marathon beginner training programs. Interval training, run logs and statistics are also available.