Lifestyle

The Must-Have Fitness Apps Of 2015

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From providing banking services to connecting you with friends and family, your smartphone can do a lot. It can also be used to support a healthy and fit lifestyle— both inside and outside of the gym. And, while there are no shortages of apps available, choosing the right one for the right reasons can be overwhelming. Here’s an introduction to the best health information technologies available and the most appropriate uses for each.

 Upgrade that diet resolution: Food and diet trackers 

With food and diet trackers, users log their food intake throughout the day. The app keeps a running total of macro and micro nutrients consumed. Most apps will also let users set targets or goals for the number of calories they should consume and track this against what they log. In addition, some apps also offer the option of goal setting, connecting to an online community for social support, or receiving text messages for ongoing motivation and support.

Do they work? Yes! Research shows people who track and monitor their food do, on average, lose more weight than those who don’t. It also shows that those who track with an app adhere to a program longer than those tracking on a website or paper diary. Programs with the online social support option also show higher success rates.

Why these apps can work for you: Logging your food intake shows you what you are eating and how it adds up throughout the day. This type of ongoing feedback can help you make better choices and identify problematic patterns in your eating habits.

My favourites: MyFitnessPal, Fitday, LoseIt

Charge up your fitness: Fitness and training apps

Users log their physical activity to monitor progress over time. Many of the running apps are GPS-enabled to track distance and speed. In addition to logging workouts, many of the training apps also provide different exercise routines with instructional videos for users to follow.

Do they work? Yes and no. The research is mixed. These apps can help users track their progress and stay motivated. Researchers warn, however, that they are not a replacement for a human trainer or coach.

Why these apps can work for you: Fitness and training apps offer new workout routines and keep you interested and engaged. Also, logging your workouts and progress can help you stay accountable.

My favourites: MapMyFitness, Nike Training Club, RunKeeper


Log out: Sleep apps

Users turn on the app when they go to bed and sleep patterns throughout the night are monitored and recorded. In the morning, users get a report showing sleep cycles. Some apps include tips for relaxing and falling asleep faster. Other sleeps apps have programmable alarm clocks to gently wake up users in accordance to their sleep cycle stage.

Do they work? Results have been mixed. While many of the apps can work, the accuracy of the reports can be affected by a variety of factors such as noise and unrelated movements in bed.

Why these apps can work for you: Sleep is a key part of any fitness and weight loss regime. Poor sleep can cause a decreased metabolic rate. Being able to fall asleep faster, sleep better, and wake up feeling refreshed impacts how you feel and your body’s ability to perform at its best. Understanding your sleep cycles can help you optimize your sleep patterns to ensure you are getting enough rest.

My favourites: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, Sleep Genius, Sleep


Bottom line

While technology cannot actually make you fit, it can provide that extra bit of support to help you achieve your training and fitness goals. Often just being aware of how much food you are consuming, or being able track your progress in the gym, can help reinforce healthy decisions. Knowledge is power, so power up your health today.

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