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As more people are choosing to work out at home, fitness and workout apps are becoming increasingly popular. These apps can help by tracking exercise and encouraging users to develop healthy habits.
This article explores workout and fitness apps in further detail, including how they can help and how to choose one. It also provides a list of apps and some health considerations.
- For tracking a variety of exercises: Runkeeper
- For tracking cycling and running: Strava
- For more than 4,000 downloadable classes: Glo
- For different experience levels: Sworkit
- For a running program: Couch to 5K
- For tracking weightlifting progress: JEFIT: Workout Tracker Gym Log
- For a running game: Zombies, Run!
- For fundraising: Charity Miles
Frequent exercising can help people maintain a moderate body weight and decrease the risk of certain diseases, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It can also strengthen the heart, improve lung function, and lower the risk of depression.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should aim for at least
However, finding the motivation to exercise can be difficult. An older 2014 study involving 15 mobile app users found that fitness apps may motivate users to increase their physical activity.
However, a 2015 study states that users should exercise caution when choosing an app for fitness. The researchers looked at 30 popular fitness apps and found that overall, the rate of adherence to guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine was low. Only one app scored higher than 50% in total.
A person should consider talking with a qualified fitness professional about exercising safely.
People interested in using an app to help them work out should consider the features most important to them. For example, some apps may also allow a person to track their diet and keep a food journal. Some may measure multiple types of physical activity, whereas others may be based on one activity.
Cost may be another consideration. Many apps are free for basic features. However, some may require a subscription cost or have in-app purchases.
A person may also find it helpful to read reviews and ratings before choosing an app. Reviews are usually available on the app page on Google Play and the App Store.
How we choose products and services
Medical News Today chooses apps that meet the following criteria:
- Price: Apps are free or available for a range of budgets.
- Features: Apps have a variety of features to suit individual needs.
- Suitability: Apps are available for a range of exercise types.
Below, we look at eight of the top available workout apps in more detail.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information is research-based and correct at the time of publication.
For tracking a variety of exercises
A person can create, save, and discover new routes. The app also uses GPS to monitor pace and distance traveled.
The My Plan dashboard provides custom training plans based on a person’s answers to a series of questions, or a person can select from the ready-made schedules.
The app is free to use, but a person can upgrade to a premium membership for a more personalized experience. This membership costs $39.99 a year.
For tracking cycling and running
Strava allows users to track their cycling and running journey using GPS. A person can also join challenges, connect with and follow friends, and share photos via the app.
The app is also compatible with a number of GPS devices, including:
- heart rate monitors
The app is free to use, but people can access many additional features if they pay $7.99 a month. These include real-time location sharing, route planning, goal setting, training logs, and a Heatmaps feature showing popular routes in the person’s current location.
For more than 4,000 downloadable classes
A user answers a few questions to personalize their experience, and more than 4,000 downloadable classes are available on demand. The teachers come from all over the world.
The company offers a 7-day free trial. After this, a person can pay $23.99 a month or $199.99 a year.
For different experience levels
Sworkit is suitable for everyone, from beginners to advanced athletes. A person can decide whether they want their workout to focus on strength, cardio, yoga, pilates, or stretching. They can also choose from various daily or monthly challenges and a range of workout collections.
The app also allows users to select their workout based on equipment, fitness goals, and impact levels.
People can set a customized 6-week plan, create workouts from scratch, track their performance, and talk one-on-one with personal trainers. Reminders, music, and kids’ activities are also available.
Sworkit offers a 7-day free trial. After this, a person can pay $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
For a running program
This app provides a 9-week running program. It claims that the app can train users to run 5 kilometers in this time by following this training plan.
A person can choose one of four different coaches and listen to their favorite music while using the app, which can also calculate distance and pace using a GPS tracker. Users can share their progress on Facebook.
The app displays pace and distance results in an easy-to-read graph so a person can clearly track their performance.
For tracking weightlifting progress
JEFIT allows users to track their workouts and weightlifting progress. Personalization is possible with this app, as a person has access to more than 1,400 exercises with instructions.
The company claims that the app is easy to use and requires just one click to log training. Rest time is also easily controllable, and both audio and video instructions are available.
A person can also choose to focus on specific muscles and receive guidance about muscle recovery.
The app is free to download. Alternatively, a person can pay $6.99 monthly for a premium membership. This premium subscription gives a person access to training reports, tracking features, premium workout plans, and more. The premium version is also free of adverts.
For a running game
Zombies, Run! is an immersive running game and audio adventure. A person walks, runs, or jogs while listening to their mission through headphones. If the mission states that a zombie is chasing the person, they must speed up. People can choose to listen to their own music alongside the mission.
There are 200 different missions, and a person can also create their own. The first four missions are free, but a person will have to pay a subscription fee for further missions. The Pro subscription also allows a person to partake in interval training. Subscription fees start from $1.99.
If a person registers online, they will be able to view their runs, maps, and statistics.
Charity Miles is an app that helps raise money for good causes. For every mile of physical activity a person completes, the company donates money to their nominated charity. A person can choose from more than 50 charities.
The company claims to have donated more than $2 million to date.
People can participate in any kind of physical activity, including walking, dancing, biking, and running.
A person should warm up and stretch properly before working out. They should only engage in physical activity when they have the appropriate space to minimize the risk of injury.
In addition, a person should wear comfortable footwear and clothing that provides appropriate support when participating in workouts.
Anyone who becomes dizzy or feels unwell during a workout should stop immediately.
People may also benefit from working out with a personal trainer or joining an in-person class. A personal trainer or class instructor will be able to help a person exercise safely.
Physical activity is important for maintaining a moderate body weight and decreasing the risk of various health conditions.
Many fitness and workout apps are available. Before purchasing an app, a person should check the price, the additional features, and whether the exercises are appropriate for their level of fitness.
It is important to exercise safely. Anyone new to exercise may wish to consider speaking with a doctor about what types of exercise would be suitable for them.