| by Nicole Crites | One day we looked up and realized that smartphones are no longer just smart, they’re also fit. Among the millions of apps available, many are designed to help people stay in shape and live a healthy lifestyle more conveniently. From counting calories to donating dollars, technology and fitness collide in these in-shape apps that are making excuses obsolete.
Research shows that you can run 18 percent longer by matching your steps to the music. The unique music app Spring (free download, $2.99 per month; $24.99 per year) helps motivate you by playing music with beats that go right along with your specific, individual pace. With more than 50 playlists and stations across a variety of genres, Spring helps you keep your pace up until the end of your workout.
Make sure your miles matter with the free Charity Miles app. Just launch the app and choose a charity to earn money for your miles. With the help of corporate sponsors, the app donates 10 cents for every mile you bike and 25 cents for every mile you walk or run. With each mile of exercise that adds up, you can help earn money for dozens of charities, including the Wounded Warrior Project and the ASPCA.
Nike+ Training Club
Nike offers a variety of fitness apps, but Nike+ Training Club is easily the company’s most popular app. An “Editor’s Choice” in the Apple store, the free app offers a polished collection of more than 100 female-focused workouts crafted by Nike’s master trainers that can be customized by preference. Celebrity athletes also offer classes – so you can even stretch with Shawn Johnson or strengthen your core with Serena Williams.
This on-the-go yoga studio works for everyone from beginners to yogis. Choose between 15-, 30- and 60-minute classes and decide on a skill level and focus that fits your needs. All video classes are shot in clear high-definition and provide teacher instructions. There is also a convenient create-your-own-class feature that allows users to choose what poses to master and stitches them together into a customized flow. Yoga Studio is $3.99 in the App Store.
Strava Cycling and Running
Strava distinguishes itself from other running apps by including cycling and adding a competitive edge to workouts. It tracks all runs and rides with GPS, allowing exercisers to follow routes they created or view a map as they go. The app also tracks stats including distance, pace, speed, elevation gained and calories burned. The free app turns running into a real life video game, so users can set a personal best or climb the leader board and compare stats to friends, locals and professionals.
My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal’s free Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker app gives you an abundance of tools to help manage your diet. Track what and how much you eat, as well as how many calories you have burned from activity. This website and app is one of the easiest of its kind to manage as it includes the largest database of foods and drinks compared to competitors like the Lose It! app.