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Fitness on your mobile phone

You may or may not know that  your mobile phone has a number of different ways to track your movements. With built in GPS, gyroscopes and heart monitors you can use your mobile phone to measure and store a huge amount of data about your activity. As a result there are now a number of apps that allow you to track your activities.

Tracking your fitness

Samsung mobiles now have a built in step tracker,  heart rate monitor and even a stress monitor. You can enter your weight, when you’re asleep and what you eat to help you measure how fit you are.

Apple health software has all of the above as well as something called mindfulness. Apparently it’s a great way to relieve stress and improve your overall health. We did mention that there are a number of apps available to help you measure your fitness, we will recommend the best apps for some common activites because there are a a few of us in the office who are very much into fitness and technology.

First of all  why do you want to track anything?  There are lots of reasons why you might want to track your exercise and activity, but it  maybe as simple as, you have to see where you have been to see where you are going. If you set targets for your activity it probably follows that you will want to track your activity to see if you have met your targets, if you are specific about your target and very specific about the measurement against those targets you will begin to see results.

Sometimes immediate results are not that visible, if you take the view that most exercise is embarked upon with a view to losing some weight or to change your body shape, if you don’t see those results immediately you may feel demotivated and and give up, but if you set a specific goal and measure your activity against that goal  you will be able to see that you are getting fitter (or lighter) day by day and week by week.

Goals

A specific goal might be to run a mile  in 10 minutes, if you run the same route every single time and use an app like Zwift on your mobile phone to measure your results, you will see your time and as a result your fitness increase over time until you reach your goal. The same old rules apply when seeting fitness goals, the goals must be realistic, there is no point setting a goal of running a mile in 4 minutes unless you are the next Mo Farar!

How will technology help you achieve your goals?  not so long ago the technology involved in tracking fitness was not as sophisticated it is now and involved buying  a number of different devices. You might have had to purchase a foot pod, a device to track your activity and heart monitor to measure the stress you are putting yourself under. Now most of these measurements can be tracked with your mobile phone.

Below are a few our favourite apps grouped by activity:

Running:

  • Runkeeper  (ios and android)
  • Strava Running (ios and andriod)
  • Racerunner (ios and andriod)
  • Run with Map my Run (ios and andriod)

Cycling:

  • Strava Cycling (ios and android)
  • Map My Ride (ios and android)
  • Garmin Connect

Swimming:

  • Swim.com (android)
  • Freestyle swimming (ios)

What are the best apps?

Please note that the above swimming apps are designed to be used with an Apple Watch for iOS or a Samsung watch for Android.

After a quick office poll we have decided that the best app for running is Garmin Connect, used a conjunction with a Garmin watch this app allows you to track your distance, speed Cadence and a number of other measures.

The best app for cycling  is almost definitely Strava.  Strava can  connect with a number of other apps that you may use like Zwift for indoor training and combines all this information in one easy to use interface. Strava is a bit like a social media app with fitness tracking rolled into one.  You can follow your friends, track your statistics against theirs  and try beat them. Strava users in your local area will name specific Segments in your area.  You can  get to know where the segments start and finish and race in them. Results are graded by:  overall top 10 and can be  split into age, weight and even with fellow  club members. You can win a King of the Mountain (KOM) or be in the overall top 10 for any segment you ride in, but watch out it may not be for long!

We don’t have any serious swimmers in the office I’m afraid, therefore we are unable to give you a personl view on them. The two apps we have listed are the best available according to the reviews on androidapps.com.

Do you have any fitness apps you’d recommend? Let us know in the Comments below.

 

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