While most of us understand the benefits of regular exercise, it’s often difficult to get out there and work up a sweat on a regular basis. In today’s smartphone heyday though, the convenience factor of downloading an exercise app on your phone and using it whenever it suits you is hard to ignore. So what are the best fitness apps out there and is there a catch to using them? Here’s the lowdown.
What types of workout apps are out there?
- Personal training apps: Apps like F45 are an alternative to a real life personal trainer, with a huge variety of workouts and exercises all designed by fitness experts.
- Specific running apps: If you’re particularly into running, apps like Strava and the Nike+ Run Club can help you with route plans, training regimes and a detailed analysis of your running stats that you can then share and compare with friends.
- Fitness class Apps: Apps like Daily Yoga with daily yoga videos mean you benefit from a professional yoga instructor guiding your yoga session – without having to travel and pay for an actual class.
- Song-based apps: If you love listening to music while you exercise, workout apps like Spotify Running and Motion Traxx take things to the next level with playlists designed to match your varying intensity levels during your workout.
- Fitness Games: Apps like Pokemon Go and Zombies, Run! combine fitness with entertainment, so you can hunt for pokemons or save the human race from a Zombie apocalypse while keeping fit at the same time.
What are the pros?
- It saves you money. Downloading an exercise app on your phone costs a fraction of what you’d spend on physical exercise classes, personal training sessions or joining a gym or sports club.
- It’s flexible. Rather than having to commit to a time and day of the week for a particular exercise class, you can use an app whenever you feel like it.
- It’s varied. Paying for a personal trainer plus yoga classes plus joining a running or cycling club is expensive – but downloading three workout apps in order to do the equivalent exercise makes this far more achievable.
- You can easily track your progress. Most of the best fitness apps record and analyse your activity every time you use them, making it easy to track and monitor your fitness progress over time.
What are the cons?
- It’s easy to put off. One of the main benefits of paying for a personal trainer, for example, is that you’re more likely to show up for the session – and you’re less likely to slack off while you’re there. With an exercise app, it’s very easy (and tempting) to skip a workout if you’re not in the mood, or to take short cuts while you’re using it.
- It can be isolating. Playing a team sport, joining a group class or even going for a cycle with a friend are all sociable ways to exercise –which makes it fun. Exercising on your own using an app can be isolating and even boring if you’re not extremely self-motivated.
- You miss out on expert guidance. While many workout apps may be designed by fitness experts, the reality is that nothing replaces the personalised attention you get from a real life professional instructor like a yoga teacher or personal trainer.
There’s no doubt that exercise apps have revolutionised the health and fitness industry. Provided you’re self motivated and willing to commit to a regular exercise regime, these apps can give you a lot of flexibility and variation in reaching your fitness goals without you needing to spend a fortune in the process.