Finding the right fitness app is like having to choose only one kind of candy at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. This confectionery metaphor might sound inappropriate to a fitness junkie, but developers have flooded the market with a slew of health and fitness apps over the last few years. This should come as no surprise, considering the use of such apps has grown by a staggering 330% since 2014.
People are certainly racing the fitness bandwagon. About 75% of users open their go-to fitness app at least twice a week. A whopping 25% access their app more than 10 times a week. This high frequency of usage implies that developers have their work cut out for them if they want to create the perfect fitness app that stands out from the pack—especially in the highly competitive world of running apps.
The health benefits of running
When it comes to working out, nothing beats a good run. All you need is a pair of running shoes and the will to step out your front door. While the latter can be hard to conjure up at times, these major health benefits will make you get off the couch.
Even if you devote half an hour a week to running, you can still improve quality of sleep, concentration and overall mood. When people tell you that running regularly is their drug, they’re not far from the truth. The more you run, the more likely you are to feel enthusiastic about exercise as time goes by. And the health benefits are not just psychological.
It’s obvious that running improves stamina. It reduces the risk of body aches along with keeping the early onset of heart disease and mental decline at bay. Studies have also shown that running lowers the risk of certain types of cancers. It’s the simplest way of staying physically fit for as long as possible.
Heard of afterburn? It’s the number of calories you shed post-workout. Running will keep you in constant good shape even if you aren’t competing in a marathon. There is no denying the fact that running, even at the minimum level, can extend life expectancy.
Top fitness apps for runners
The hardest part about running is forming a consistent habit. That’s where running apps can give you that extra motivation to stay on track. Here are a few top running apps that push you towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Human is a free Android/iOS app perfect for first-timers. This app works behind-the-scenes, tracking your physical activity and providing prompts to help you achieve your daily goal of 30 minutes of exercise per day. The neighborhood leaderboard collects and compares exercise data, motivating you to reach the top.
This app balances advanced metrics and sociability. Strava’s in-depth GPS tracking records route taken, distance covered and speed. On the social end, you can challenge friends, vie for pole position on the leaderboards and boast of your achievements. It’s a popular app with both newbies and pros. Another major plus? It is compatible with Apple Watch and Android Wear.
If you’re the competitive type, RaceRunner allows you to race against runners across the globe. You can even set up your own race and invite friends to join. It’s a good way to stay motivated, and even if you’re offline, you can face off against the time-trial runs.
Nike+ Run Club
For a free app, Nike+ Run Club offers a host of features that include regular metrics, adaptive coaching plans, social networking capabilities and music via Spotify. Audio cheers from friends and audio coaching from pro athletes/coaches are also part of the app.
For every mile you complete, Charity Miles donates 25 cents to the charity you selected when you start the app. What it lacks in advanced running metrics it makes up for in goodwill.
Gamifying your run is a great way to do away with monotony. In this app, you’re “Player Five,” who needs to escape the zombie threat by staying on the move. The story unfolds as audio messages that are played between your favorite songs off Spotify and Pandora. Didn’t think running could be fun? Think again.
How about a sci-fi or adventure story while you’re out running? Runtastic offers short audiobooks that makes for the perfect companion while out in the open. Get drawn into fictional worlds, and before you know it your 30-minute run is over and done with. Configure the dashboard to view detailed fitness stats and routes.
Running For Weight Loss
If you’re out to lose a couple of pounds, this app provides nutritional advice along with the usual running log. You can choose a training plan that lays out a detailed strategy according to your physical requirements and ability. The app also offers audio coaching and music mixes, making it a must-have for those on a fitness journey.
For iOS users, the iSmoothRun Pro is all you need to reach your fitness goals. Using your iPhone’s motion sensors and GPS, you get a complete breakdown of your run from cadence to speed and intervals. If you’re using a fitness tracker, chances are the iSmoothRun Pro can sync with it.
This app doesn’t record fitness metrics, but it creates a trail of your running route and relays it to your family. In case you have an accident and are unable to move, the app sends out an SOS via text or email. This is a handy app in case disaster strikes.
At the end of the day, running apps could be just the tools to help you stay true to your fitness goals. It’s no easy task to keep hitting the track day after day, but with the right kind of motivation and workout advice, these apps assist you in your quest for fitness.