Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: Virtual Health & Fitness

Josie McKenlay 15:40 18/12/2014
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Technology: There's an app for everything including fitness.

There is an app for everything these days and health and fitness is no exception. According to businessinsider.com, in 2014 health and fitness apps grew 62 per cent in usage, compared to apps overall which grew 33 per cent. Whilst men use apps generally a little more than women, the reverse is true in the health and fitness area with women in the 25 to 54 age group being most interested.  

Almost 20 per cent of smartphone users have one or more applications on their device. Such is the growth in their popularity it is estimated that by 2015, 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a health app.

The most popular apps are in the diet, weight loss and fitness areas. Calorie counters, fitness trackers, workouts, diets, progress logs; these are the most downloaded, so for example, last year MyFitnessPal had 40 million users. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or walk more steps in a day, make time for a seven-minute power workout in your living room or simply get started, fitness apps can help.

1. Fitocracy: Available for android, iOS and on the web, this app uses games and community to help you reach your goals, whether these are weight loss, cardio/stamina or muscle gain/toning.  It is free for the basic version, but if you want something a little more personal, there is a very inexpensive option.  It’s not so useful for complete beginners who don’t know the common exercises used in the workouts.

2. Fitstar: Sadly, only available for iOS, the free version is designed to get you moving, but the premium version for as little as $49 per year has the added options of getting lean and strong.  No equipment is required so you can do it anywhere. It has images to demonstrate the exercises and your level is assessed with a Fit Test so that you get the appropriate workouts.

3. Couch to 5k: One of my clients has just downloaded this with a view to starting running in the New Year. It is ideal for beginners to train to run 5k in just 9 weeks with 3 runs a week. It’s $1.99 on apple and android.

4. MyFitnessPal: A phenomenally successful free app available for iOS and android and for good reason. It is a simple calorie counter and exercise tracker with a huge database of food items and makes it easy for you to see exactly what you are eating and how many calories you are using to help keep you on track. You do need to be diligent with your recording though.

5. My Diet Coach: This is like having your very own motivational speaker everywhere you go. If you want to lose weight, this is a great app. I love the fact that you can upload photos and notes that inspire you, reminders about what you want to eat and avoid, together with weight loss and fitness goals.

So there is no excuse for not improving your health with so many tools available. Apps are ideal for the self-disciplined who are busy, travel or who are on a budget. But if you lack motivation or have special issues you need to work on, stick to a live instructor.

Know more about Sport360 Application

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