Technology is changing many things in our lives and our health and fitness is no exception. There are hundreds of apps out there that help us track, monitor and even motivate us to be fit and healthy. It can be daunting when faced with all the choices. This article looks at some of the most popular Android apps, covering different aspects of health and fitness. Some apps will focus on monitoring physical activity, whether you run, walk, swim, cycle or play sports. Some will focus on food and nutrition, helping you count calories and monitor the nutritional value of the food you consume. Some provide ideas and inspiration for workouts. And some apps act as a hub for all your data, so you can see and access all your data in one place in a visual user-friendly way. But it’s not just about the apps – there is also a variety of devices and gadgets that combine with these apps to create an entire eco-system of monitoring health and fitness. These devices include activity trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and smart weight scales.
Best Fitness Apps for Android
People are different in many ways, but one thing we all share in common is that nagging need to be fitter and healthier. But people are getting busier and busier, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain levels of health and fitness. Despite the difficulties in finding time and motivation, technology is providing huge opportunities to make this easier for us in many ways. The devices that track our fitness activities and the apps that help us store, analyse and present this data to us are becoming increasingly common and more sophisticated.
As smart phones, smart watches, and other mobile technology become ubiquitous, solutions to these common problems and barriers to fitness and good health become a lot easier to counter. Just a quick look on your favourite Android app store will show you just how many different options there are for tracking your activity, monitoring your progress, and staying on task. But like with anything else, there are good apps and there are, well, not-so-good ones. And sometimes the variety can be overwhelming. There are apps that focus on tracking physical activity, apps that focus on food and nutrition, apps that provide workout ideas and inspiration, and apps that try to consolidate all your data as a sort of central hub.
We have compiled a list of some of the best apps that help you meet all your health and fitness goals:
1. Samsung Health
Samsung Health, formerly called S Health, is a comprehensive application made by, of course, Samsung. This is a multifaceted app that has a good selection of features for planning, tracking and reviewing your workouts. It allows you to plan unique and fun activities, as well as giving you the ability to track your activity and progress. These features are available in an easy to use interface that takes just a few minutes to set up to your personal needs and parameters. Samsung Health connects with various apps (including 3rd party ones) and this includes of course other Samsung wearables like the Gear 3. Samsung Health also has community and communal challenges allowing users to set target and compete with friends.
2. Calorie Counter – MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is an Android app that is more targeted towards the dietary element of health and fitness. With this app, you can easily track your daily food and beverage consumption. You will get detailed information about your caloric intake, as well as a breakdown of levels of fat, sodium, vitamins and minerals, to give you an idea of your overall dietary patterns. MyFitnessPal is probably the most popular app for calorie counting and nutrition tracking, boasting of a community of over 80 million users, and it’s no wonder it was snapped up by Under Armour for $475 million.
Endomondo is a ‘sports tracker’ app that is designed to make it easy to compile and track fitness and health data in one convenient place. The app is perfectly suited to tracking how long you are active, how many calories are burned, and even the route that you took during a particular run or bike ride. It can be configured to track all kinds of activities including sports and body building activities. Additionally, it also provides suggestions for ways that you can improve your activity so as to maximize the benefits you see from your efforts.
4. Run Keeper
This is another very popular fitness tracker that also includes a social media element as well. The app is designed to track how long your run, bike, or walk, and to even provide cues that get you to pick up the pace if you want some extra motivation. The app will track your stats, alerting you when you’ve surpassed a previous “best” or how you are progressing towards a defined goal.
5. Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout
This is an app that is designed to promote fitness in a way that doesn’t require a gym membership or expensive equipment, nor does it require a lot of time. As the name implies, the app provides a 7 minute workout that can be performed wherever you are and is scientifically proven to be one of the most effective and efficient workouts available. Considering how busy people are these days, this is a great app to get people motivated to do little things on a regular basis.
MapMyRun is in the MapMyFitness family of apps, and although its strength is in its features for runners, it can track other activities like walking, hiking, cycling and interval training. You can easily plan a new running route from their mapped training routes, trails, clubs, and more. The app provides you with the ability to track your progress, and even provides parameters for special challenges that are designed to get you to step up your pace. Some of their cooler featured can only be accessed in the paid version however.
We thought we’d throw in Spotify into this list. It’s not a health app of course, but it can play a big part in providing the right music for your workouts. Music has been shown to be a huge motivating factor in the pace of workouts, as well as a way to make them more fun and to help pass the time. Spotify has a number of curated playlists that are specially suited for running, or other athletic endeavors.
This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list of all the varied fitness-related applications that are well designed and easy to use. There are literally hundreds of health and fitness apps out there. We’ve selected some of the most popular ones, representing a wide variety of different types used for different purposes. If you haven’t yet started using fitness apps this is a great list to start with.
One last thing to say – this isn’t just about your smartphone. There are now all kinds of gadgets and devices that will fit into an entire health and fitness technology eco-system. Devices include activity trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and digital bathroom scales. Activity trackers can send your activity levels straight to your app and smart scales can even send your weight, BMI and other body composition data straight to your fitness apps. This combination of new devices and apps mean that you can now track and monitor almost every aspect of your fitness through technology.
Stephen L is blogger with a keen interest in gadgets, particularly those with health and fitness applications. He currently writes for PimpMyBathroom, focusing on topics around technology and smart bathrooms.