Best Fitness Apps

Do you have a New Year’s resolution to keep (or get) fit this year? There are a lot of smartphone and tablet apps to help you achieve your goals. Whether you want to get off the couch and start working out, get flexible with yoga, start lifting weights or complete a race, there are apps to coach you to run further and/or faster than you have before. Yoga and workout apps show you how to perform each exercise. Other apps challenge, inspire or motivate you to stay on track. Over the past couple of years I have tried many apps. The following is a list of those that stand out, and what you should look for when choosing a fitness app. Search for the app titles in the iTunes, Google Play or the Windows Phone store.

How to choose a fitness app?

With so many apps to choose from, how do you decide?

* If you are a beginner or you want to start some sort of exercise but don’t have much time, choose the 30 Day Fitness Challenge or the 5 Minute Yoga app. Both apps will help you get in shape in just minutes a day.

* If you need instructions on how to perform exercises or help with putting together a workout, consider Full Fitness HD or Fitness Builder.

* If you like to share with friends and get encouragement, consider apps with a social community (most fitness apps let you share your workout on Twitter or Facebook).

Fitness App Highlights

The 30-day Fitness Challenge – If you are just starting out and want to ease into an exercise regimen, this is the app for you. Exercises include Plank Challenge, Beach Body challenge, Burpee, Push-ups or Tricep Dips, Abs, Squats and more. The first day you perform just a couple of reps or hold a plank for a short duration but by the end of the month, you can be holding a plank for 5 minutes or doing 20 (easy) or 40 push-ups. Instructions for how to properly perform each exercise are included in the app. Some of the individual exercises are available in a free 30-day challenge app, but all are included with instructions in the complete app available for both iPhone and Android at $2.99.

Yoga apps

Choose an app based on your yoga practice goals—spiritual, relaxation, flexibility, balance or a workout. The best app I’ve found for a spiritual workout is Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra ($1.99 iPhone or Android). Yoga Studio allows you to choose a practice based on your goals from included workouts or by customizing your session from 280 included poses. “Yoga.Com” is similar but also includes illustrations for each muscle used in a pose. And if you are short on time, there is 5-Minute Yoga (99 cents) for a quick relax and stretch.

Running and Cardio GPS Apps

These apps track your route, distance and pace for a number of sports, from winter sports to walking, running and biking. Some apps allow friends to follow you as you run. With an upgraded Runkeeper app membership, you can “live broadcast.” Runtastic allows friends to follow you on Facebook. After posting that you have started your workout, you’ll hear “cheers” of encouragement from your phone when your friends “like” the post. Runtastic, RunKeeper and

Map My Fitness (“Map My Run,” “Map My Ride”) connect to a website where you can share your goals for a personal best or post a race that you want to complete. Friends can keep you motivated and encouraged. Map My Fitness helps you to find others who are working out in your city/town.

If you are ready to take your fitness to another level, consider apps that accompany fitness monitors like the Nike FuelBand, FitBit, BodyMedia FIT and more. If you have a trainer or coach, they may suggest apps where they can track your progress. With so many apps, you have no excuse not to get fit this year.

Barb Gonzalez ~ The Simple Tech Guru

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