Have you started to think about health and fitness goals in 2014 yet? It’s quite amazing how many handy phone apps now exist to help those New Year Resolutions stick it out beyond January. Here’s a run down of some of the best…
Get Fit With Your Phone: Apps To Kickstart Your NY Resolutions
“What are you thinking your New Year resolutions will be?”, someone asks you. “I’m thinking of really getting fit this year – I’m determined”, you reply. But all too often we know that, before we’ve even started, the dedication and motivation will last little more than a few weeks.
When you’re going it alone, whether you’re watching your weight or looking to start running, staying committed is a difficulty that an awful lot of us face – I’m guilty of it too! As of this year, 70% of people in the UK now own a smartphone so, armed with your new bit of tech and this array of health apps, there’s no longer any excuse!
1. For Healthy Eating: MyFitnessPal – iOS, Android (Free)
Ask yourself exactly what you ate two days ago – difficult, right? If you were asked to write it down, you’d probably forget a couple of snacks you had, exactly how big that bowl of cereal was or whether it was one or two glasses of cola with dinner.
MyFitnessPal is a great little app for people wanting to keep a close eye on how much they’re eating, and whether they’re getting all the right foods. As well as tracking calories, it also tracks nutritional info like vitamin content, amounts of fat and sugar, and tracks your protein/fat/carbs levels to ensure your diet is balanced. The database is user-driven, so you’ll be surprised at the amount of food that’s already been entered.
2. For the Fitness Freaks: Runkeeper – iOS, Android (Free)
Motivation is one of the biggest stumbling blocks many of us face when it comes to fitness, and the free RunKeeper app helps you set weight loss or running distance goals, uses GPS to track your regime so you can plan or view your runs on a map of your area.
It includes audio cues for motivation, coaching and progress, and you can listen to your music throughout for your own personal audio kick start.
3. For A Good Night’s Sleep: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock – iOS (69p)
The key to successful fitness and stamina building is recovery – and a good night’s sleep can be just as important as how often you exercise. It’s never as easy as just putting your head down on the pillow and waking up when you need to; you can easily be disturbed or wake up at the wrong time, leaving you tired.
Sleep Cycle uses your iPhone’s accelerometer while sitting under your pillow or sheet to measure how much you move during the night. An alarm will go off in a designated time frame based on how lightly you’re sleeping – goodbye groggy mornings!
4. To Kick The Smoking Habit: Quit It Lite – iOS (Free)
We all have our vices (mine’s takeaway kebabs – I know, not good!), and anyone who has ever taken up smoking in their life will know just how difficult it can be to quit or even cut down. Quit It Lite is a free app for iOS which lets you track how much you used to smoke, and how often you smoke after dedicated to cut down or quit.
It’s worth using in conjunction with other techniques like self-help techniques, motivation from friends to quit, or things like electronic cigarettes (from reputable UK companies like VIP) if you just want to cut down. The app then gives you info on money saved, toxic tar avoided and lets you share you success stories with your Facebook friends or Twitter followers.
5. To Release Stress: Pranayama Lite – iOS, Android (Free)
It’s all good and well tackling your physical wellbeing, but your mental health is just as important in ensuring an all-round good state of health. Pranayama Lite is a free version of an app, which is basically a tool for teaching you good relaxation and breathing techniques with the progress tracking available in many of these apps.
It’s good for beginners and pros alike, and you can easily work your way through various techniques and breathing patterns, extending your time as you get more comfortable. It doesn’t take up much time either, as many techniques can be done in around five minutes – if you’re feeling dedicated though you can go all the way up to an hour or more.
Excellent range of apps there, I’ve used MyFitnessPal and Run Keeper before and will most definitely be giving the Pranayama Lite app a try too. I wish that apps like Quit it were around when I was a smoker!
Have you tried any of these phone apps? Do you have any favourites you already use?