The number of exercise-related apps on the market can be overwhelming, so the MoveMe team decided to do some investigation and see if we could come up with a short list of apps that are:
- Free or low cost
- Appropriate for folk who aren’t currently very active, and
- Suitable for the Dunedin environment
We trialled a bunch of different apps on some local volunteers and came up with our Top 5. Here they are, ranked in order:
1. Beginner Option Nike Training Club
This app is free to download and compatible with iOS and Android devices. It works as a personal trainer; where an individual can choose from over 100 workouts that are designed by professional athletes. Workouts range from yoga to cardiovascular fitness to resistance. The workouts are made for a variety of fitness levels, beginner through to advanced. Some of the advanced workouts require additional equipment (e.g. dumbbells), however many are bodyweight resistance workouts. The workout moves used within the app are basic (e.g. push ups, star-jumps) and are easy to follow. The app records the length and intensity of your workouts and also has the option of recording nutritional intake to give a comprehensive overview of intake and output if your goal is to lose weight. Although this app is applicable to those with a minimal exercise history, its general set up makes it appear as though it is for more experienced exercisers.
2. Fitstar & Sworkit (2nd equal in our trial)
Free to download, and compatible with iOS and Android devices. Sworkit covers a range of workout categories including yoga, Pilates, cardio, bodyweight and resistance training. No additional equipment is required and it allows for the design of individual workouts or to utilise the workouts made by personal trainers (over 20 are provided). The format of app is well laid out making it very easy to follow and use. Instructional videos are provided to take you through whole workouts, and through specific exercise moves. Workouts vary in length allowing them to be completed throughout the day, or in one session. The app provides the option of paying to upgrade to ‘pro’ which includes additional features (7 minute bonus workouts, earning reward points, access to your complete workout history).
Fitstar is free to download and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. The app includes a variation of bodyweight exercises (press-ups, squats, planks etc.). Workout sessions can be downloaded and used at any time, and with no additional equipment required. The workouts vary in length from seven to thirty minutes, so individuals can choose which best suits their particular day. The majority of the workouts engage one’s core, regardless of if the specific programme is focused on legs, arms, back or abdominals. All free workouts come with videos of personal trainers completing the specific moves. Fitstar has been identified by users as very easy to navigate and use, and is great if someone has limited time.
Fitstar has an in-app purchase option (Fitstar premium) that includes a greater amount of workouts, and nutritional information.
3. C25K (Couch to 5km)
Free to download and compatible with iOS and Android devices. This app is designed for beginner walkers and runners who are looking to increase their mileage, with the goal of completing 5km. The apps consists of a programme that is structured for a gradual increase in weekly walking or running, so that individuals can complete 5km after eight weeks. No additional equipment and resources are required, and the app does not ask for personal information such as height, weight, age etc.
Free to download and compatible with iOS and Android devices, Runkeeper is the ideal app for those who already engaged in walking, running or cycling activities. The app uses a smartphones GPS system to track walks/runs/bike rides. It also provides audio updates during exercise, and gives a comprehensive summary at the end of each workout regarding average heart rate, speed etc. The app has the option of entering your height and weight to monitor individualised calories burnt during a workout. It also provides the opportunity to set weekly and monthly exercise goals, which are then tracked. Downloading and using the app features described above are free. Additional ‘in-app’ purchases that provide cardio programmes are available if desired ($39.99 for a yearly subscription). Very user friendly as it is has a clear layout and is easy to navigate, track your exercise, and set goals.
Free to download and compatible with iOS and Android devices, this app provides a simple way of tracking calories, nutrients and exercise over the day/week/month. It provides you with a picture of your intake and output (exercise) to help achieve weight loss or general wellbeing goals. The app uses a database of over 500 meals to give a breakdown of the key nutritional components of meals, for example the carbohydrate, fat and protein content of meals. Individual height and weight data can be utilised to provide accurate calculation of calories burnt within particular exercises. The app has a clear layout making it very easy to navigate and use. MyFitnessPal syncs with the associated website where additional information regarding nutrition (recipes), exercise and success stories can be found.