Top 10 free apps that will help you get fit
From Strava to Zombies - get in shape with these free apps
Want to get fit, but can’t afford or don’t want to spend the money on gym membership that you may not use? Ciarán D’Arcy has been flipping through free fitness apps to try to find something that might suit your needs. Here he selects his top ten free apps:
Regarded by many as the definitive cycling app, Strava allows users to track their cycle and keep a log of their activities and performances.
The app also performs these functions for runs, and uses GPS tracking technology to time and compare exercises in terms of distance, speed and calories burned.
Users can also copy routes used by other members of the Strava community, and those with a competitive streak have the opportunity to contest for top times.
A perennial favourite on lists such as this, Nike+ Running presents an easily navigable, user-friendly digital experience for everyone from enthusiastic beginners to veteran runners.
Its famed community functions allow users to share the results of their runs on social media, and the app is built to integrate with Spotify playlists for those who prefer some music for motivation.
Its fuel points and badges system offers incentives for consistent and prolonged use, and the app is of course compatible with Nike’s wearable FuelBand technology although this is not essential.
One of the more novel innovations to get people active, the motivation this app uses to keep people moving is simple- don’t get eaten by zombies!
It has a far less tenuous claim to promoting fitness than Pokémon Go, and its Google Play description provides a flavour of what those intrepid enough to download Zombies, Run! can expect:
“Every run becomes a mission where you’re the hero, with our immersive audio drama putting you at the centre of your very own zombie adventure story. While you run to the perfect mix of heart-pumping audio drama and pulse-pounding songs from your own playlist, you’ll collect supplies to grow your base back home.”
Developing swimming apps is a tricky business considering you can hardly bring your phone into the water with you, but MySwimPro makes a good attempt at providing a resource to improve users’ ability in the pool.
As well as having the option to log swimming sessions and compare historical performances, those who download MySwimPro are promised access to hundreds of water-based workouts for various skill levels.
It also has videos on how to improve swimming technique, and further features are accessible through in-app purchases.
Most noted for its wearable tracking technology, Fitbit also offers a free smartphone app which can record basic stats such as steps, distance and calories burned.
On top of this the app can be used to record other information such as blood pressure and glucose levels, but such features are only unlocked when it is used in collaboration with Fitbit’s other fitness products.
For those specifically aiming to lose weight or develop a healthier diet, this app provides a good starting point.
It offers the opportunity to create a personalised diet and exercise programme, and has a database of nutritional information for over six million foods so you know exactly what you’re eating every meal.
As well as this, MyFitnessPal has a comprehensive catalogue of cardiovascular and strength training exercises to get the blood pumping.
A bit more downtempo than some of the other items on this list, all you need is a yoga mat to accompany this highly-acclaimed app.
It has a choice of 27 different yoga sessions depending on the ability of the user, and contains more than 200 illustrated poses to guide correct posture and alignment. It also provides a dictionary of poses so you know exactly what benefits each one offers.
No need for a gym, this app helps the user to customise a comprehensive workout regime which can be done from their own home.
It brings together various elements including strength, cardio, pilates and arguably the most neglected pillar of fitness- stretching, for a varied yet targeted fitness experience.
Users can personalise their routine to focus on certain areas such as legs, chest, abdomen etc and there are even custom settings for pregnancy and various sports.
The premise for this app is simple- help those who struggle with running to complete a 5k course.
It focuses on a constituency of people who may feel that fitness apps generally do not cater for those with a basic level of ability, and sets out a programme of three times weekly half-hour exercise sessions spread out over eight weeks.
It also offers a tracking function for calories burned and distance run, and offers access to communities of fellow C25K runners on social media.
For some, the thought of compiling a motivational workout playlist is almost more daunting than the exercise itself.
FIT Radio has a library of “high energy” music across various genres which can be effortlessly synced to the user’s workout. Playlists are ad free and uninterrupted, and new mixes are regularly uploaded so as to stave off repetition.