Five Apps to Spice Up Your Exercise Routine in 2013
Let's start out 2013 with a dose of reality: It's hard to keep New Years resolutions.
According to the New Years resolution statistics published by the Journal of Clinical Psychology for 2012, 25 percent of resolution-makers have already given up on their goal by January 8. The number only grows over time with nearly half of New Years resolutions abandoned by the first day of February.
Our selves of yesteryear might've heard these stats and turned to run, but it's still the first week 2013, and we are sticking to our guns because dammit we still really wanna lose 10 pounds this year.
What if we made our fitness goals for 2013 cater to our existing (technological) lifestyles? Instead of springing for that new exercise wardrobe and $100 a month gym membership, what if we opted for a $2 guide that fits in our pockets? Let's give our resolutions a little boost this year with some apps to help us start exercising more regularly (for real this time). Here are some of our favorite fitness apps to get you started.
The name of this app may be a little deceiving -- RunKeeper is not just for runners. The app allows you to GPS track activities from your phone (anything from walking to cycling). Once you start an activity, you can view your route on a map along with stats about your pace distance and time. The app is integrated with your music so you can keep listening to your tunes while you get coaching through your headphones -- super encouraging if you like audio cues. Once you have used the app a few times, you can view a history of your activities, create goals, and see how you are progressing towards them. There are even pre-made fitness plans if you aren't sure where to start. The interface is so sleek, and the app has really been perfected over time. We cannot recommend RunKepper enough. Oh yeah, and did we mention it's free? No excuses, download this app immediately.
Zombies, Run! is possibly the closest you can get to acting out a video game scenario in real life. Yeah, it's exactly what you think it is, and it's brilliant. A story plays through your headphones as you run (complete with creepy zombie sounds, of course). You collect supplies by running certain distances, and the more supplies you have, the more missions you can play. For people who get bored running, we can guarantee you will not get bored running with this app.
We have to start out with the disclaimer that Nike Training Club is geared specifically towards women right now, but the app is seriously so far beyond any other strength training/ muscle building app out there that there's just no comparison. (And it's made by Nike so we are pretty confident there will be a men's equivalent eventually). So about this app: You can select the type of workout you would like to do and watch a beautiful demonstration video of some of the moves in the routine (there are also written and audio instructions so all types of learners will be happy). Nike really plays up the celebrity trainers in this app -- once you reach certain achievements you can unlock workouts with professional athletes or Rihanna's personal trainer. That part seems a little gimmicky, but the routines speak for themselves. Like RunKeeper, the app integrates with music and doesn't cost you a dime.
Cardiio transforms your phone camera into a touch-free heart rate monitor. Yeah you read that right. The app analyzes the light reflected off of your face to tell you your pulse. Aside from this being completely mind-boggling as a technological advancement, it's great for people who want minimal workout assistance. You can use Cardiio to see if you are in your target calorie-burning zone, and then put it away and continue with your jog. Simple and useful.
5. Pocket Yoga
It's hard to recreate the feeling of a yoga studio at home, but Pocket Yoga is a huge incentive to start a home practice. There are 27 different yoga sessions in the app complete with detailed voice instructions, and they can be customized to specific levels and durations. For the beginning student, the app offers illustrated images of individual poses with descriptions of correct positioning so you can get a hold of things outside of the flow mode. You can track your progress, play music from your own library, and wirelessly connect to your Apple TV when you're at home. It's a great multi-functional yoga app for all levels.
One thing that we haven't liked about some of these apps is that they really do a number on your battery (we're lookin at you, GPS trackers). Fitbit makes activity trackers that will sync to your mobile devices without using the GPS itself. They are pricey, but worth it.
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