x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Getting fit? There's an app for that

Here are the top 10 current apps to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The Zombies run! app.
The Zombies run! app.

Gone are the days when health and fitness apps were just gimmicks for geeks. With a huge range of electronic assistants out there, a growing number of clued-in health-conscious people are using their phones to keep their health on track.

Whether you want to make sure you eat properly and sleep well or assess how well your exercise regimen is going – or just to stop yourself dying of boredom on the treadmill – you can be pretty sure that, nowadays, there’s an app for that. Out of a huge new trawl, here are the best ones to help you maintain a truly healthy lifestyle.

= Larklife

The ultimate fitness app, Larklife uses day and night wristbands to track and analyse every detail of your daily routine, from the number of steps you take to the length and quality of your sleep.

Data from the wristband is fed back into the app itself, which then gives you personally tailored appraisals and suggestions for improving your health.

A sort of health guru version of George Orwell’s Big Brother, Larklife’s constant monitoring might require too much commitment for some – and at US$149, it’s hardly cheap. Still, as an alternative to personal training for people who find it hard to stay focused on health goals, it’s pretty awesome.

US$149 (Dh547) for iPhone

 

Nike Training Club

For fitness lovers who find Larklife’s monitoring a little too intense, this Nike-sponsored app for women is a good, low-key alternative. Offering detailed workouts for all levels, the app comes with video tutorials, tailored music playlists, excellent progress updates and a gratifying collection of mini bonuses and rewards for goals achieved.

Free for iPhone and Android

 

Calorie Counter Pro

Unlike many barcode-scanning apps, Calorie Counter Pro isn’t too US-focused. Helping you tot up calorie intake, the app has more than 485,000 foods in its database, and lets you calculate weight loss or gain and set goals easily. Assuming you’re fed healthily as well as sparingly, the app also records your vitamin intake, helps you group snacks by time and will even tell you if you’re not drinking enough water.

$3.99 (Dh15) for iPhone and Android

Edamam

A truly vast recipe database, Edamam stands out among cookery apps thanks to the excellent, easily decipherable nutritional information attached to each dish. With filters for specific requirements such as gluten-free, low sodium and vegan diets, it makes cooking varied healthy food that bit easier. It looks pretty, too, with the appetising photos accompanying each healthy recipe inevitably a bit more enticing on the iPad version.

Free for iPhone and Android

 

Moves

Pedometer apps have been around for a while, but Moves takes the genre to a new level of convenience and sophistication. It can measure walking, running and cycling, removing the need to switch among apps. Even better, it presents you with your daily activity as a handy line map, making it easy to root out lazy periods and to gauge and adjust how your daily exertion levels ebb and flow.

Free for iPhone

 

Yoga Studio

OK, so you can’t really squeeze an entire yoga studio onto a smartphone screen, but this exercise app is still one of the best around for home use.

With detailed written instructions complementing a set of 30 yoga class videos, this smoothly flowing app allows you to knit instructional sections together to create your own routine. It’s great for fitness-seekers too busy to make it to the gym at fixed times or for people who want a guided top-up between classes.

$2.99 (Dh11) for iPhone and Android

 

Primal Paleo

Recreating a Stone Age diet in the modern world is no easy feat but this app certainly makes the process easier.

Targeted at people who believe a largely pre-agricultural diet of raw and whole foods is healthier, Primal Paleo helps you pick out unprocessed, in-season foods and offers recipe ideas that won’t damage their nutrients. Complemented by a choice of “Paleo exercises”, this app’s tone may be tongue-in-cheek but whether you buy into its Stone Age revivalist shtick or not, its diet and fitness advice is innovatively presented and sound.

$1.99 (Dh7) for iPhone and Android

 

Trendweight

If you’re one of those people whose weight bounces up and down from day to day, this app is a great way of looking at the bigger weight-loss picture. Trendweight maps your daily weight data graphically as a rising and sinking line, smoothing off daily peaks and troughs to reveal your general trend. Mapped against a self-declared goal weight and providing both body-fat tracking and detailed breakdowns of calories burnt, Trendweight means you can track your weight without worrying about drinking water before you jump on the scales.

Free for iPhone and Android

 

Sleep Bot Tracker – Sleep Suite

A proper night’s rest is as essential to good health as food and exercise, and this app is arguably the best around for measuring and adapting your sleep patterns.

Activated by a simple touch-on, touch-off screen tap, the app creates graphs showing sleep length and patterns. It also enables you to calculate sleep debt after a period of scanty rest.

While a sleep-obsessed insomniac might find the clearly presented information graphs here more worrying than calming, Sleep Bot can be a helpful tool for making sure you get the right length and quality of sleep.

Free for iPhone and Android

 

Zombies, Run!

For a bit of light relief, people who find their exercise routine a massive drag should try this wonderfully silly app-turned-game. With a crescendo of groans coming through their headphones after 100 metres of running, lazy runners get an extra incentive by pretending that they are being chased by zombies.

With 30 missions to choose from, the app also has settings for stop-start-stop interval training in the form of “Zombie chases”. It’s great fun but users should remember that someone who looks like they’re fleeing undead flesh-eaters can easily scare the wits out of -passers-by.

$7.99 (Dh29) for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone

 

artslife@thenational.ae