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The Best Mobile Applications for Health and Fitness

Updated on April 29, 2012

There are thousands of health & fitness apps available in the app store, so if you need a little motivation to get your well-being in check, it is a great place to get started. With such a large variety of applications, there is certainly something for everyone to download and run on your iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad), Android or Blackberry mobile device.

Some apps are free, others are usually very inexpensive at either $.99 or &1.99. Every now and again, I come across one that is $4.99 or $9.99, but those prices are fortunately rare in the app store. My first criteria for finding a new app is to search through the free or 'lite' (free-trial) versions. If I don't find exactly what I am looking for, then I will search through the premium apps. Regardless of the price, before downloading I always go through a simple evaluation process.

Evaluating the Quality of an App

Even if an app is free, I don't want to waste my time figuring out how to use a new application if it is not what I am looking for.

So, I always follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Check the star rating
    Both the iTunes store and Android apps at Google Play use a five star rating system for filtering the best apps. Unless an app is fairly new, I usually will not bother with it if it has less than 4 stars.
  2. Read the reviews (both positive & negative)
    Peer reviews are the best way to determine whether or not the app you are interested in is going to work for you. Spend a few minutes, scanning through a few of the keywords posted by others. You will quickly be able to decide if this app will suit your needs.
  3. Look at the screenshots
    Ask yourself: Is the user-interface look engaging? Do the icons appear intuitive/user-friendly?

In less than three minutes you should have a better understanding of whether this is the app for you. Spending a few minutes to evaluate will save you time from downloading and discovering that it does not work as intended.

Best Apps for Wellness

Following the criteria above, I have chosen what I believe to be the best health and fitness apps available for your mobile device. As I mentioned there is something for everyone and I few I have used myself, so I will provide additional feedback on those.

There's an App for That

No matter what you like to do for health & fitness, there is very likely an app to keep you organized, motivated, and help track your progress.

Competitive Apps for Motivation

  • Nexercise
    • avg 4.5 stars; free
    • Apple (iOS device), Android (coming soon)
    If a competition motivates you, try Nexercise. It turns exercise into a game using various activities to earn rewards. You can even compete with friends who are also using the app.

Overall Wellness

  • Workout Trainer
    • avg rating 4.5 stars; free
    • Apple (iOS device), Android
    Available free for both Apple and Android mobile devices. Workout Trainer is a series of guided exercises led by expert coaches to get you into shape.

Diet and Weight-loss

  • MyFitnessPal
    • avg 5 star rating; free
    • Apple (iOS device), Android, Blackberry
    Free and available on many platforms, including iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. Calculate daily caloric intake, create weight loss goals and track fitness progress.

Cycling

  • Map My Tracks OutFront
    • avg rating: 4.5 stars; free
    • Apple (iOS device)
    A fantastic app if you are looking for accurate GPS tracking, may be used while biking, jogging, hiking, walking, etc.

Personal Relaxation & Sleep

  • Relax Melodies
    avg rating: 5 stars; free
    Featuring high quality ambient sounds for you to play while trying to get to sleep and also during some quiet time or meditation. Also includes an alarm and timer, binaural beats, and the ability to mix and play a combination of your favorite sounds.

After completing the Couch to 5k app, I ran my first 5k last fall and my second the following spring. I also regularly use MapMyRun to track my distance, pace and time.
After completing the Couch to 5k app, I ran my first 5k last fall and my second the following spring. I also regularly use MapMyRun to track my distance, pace and time. | Source

Running

  • Couch to 5k
    • Various available (free - $4.99)
    • Apple (iOS device)
    If you have ever considered wanting to run or have needed some motivation and encouragement to take up running, I highly recommend following a Couch to 5k app program. There are many to select from, I personally trained with the one created by Felt Tip, Inc. Over nine weeks, you slowly work up to running 3.1 miles (5 kilometers). I never considered myself to be a runner, but after following the app and continuing on to run my first 5k road race after about one month of finishing the app, I am hooked.
  • MapMyRUN (free) & MapMyRUN+ ($1.99)
    • avg rating: 4.5 stars
    • Apple (iOS device), Android, Blackberry
    Simple app to track running/jogging and walking. Using GPS it can create live routes and calculate distance, pace, elevation, and calories too. The premium version has some additional features including playing music and taking photos.

Do Health & Fitness Mobile Apps Keep You Motivated?

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    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      I hadn't thought about using apps for fitness - thanks for sharing this information! You've given us so many great details and tips - I now have no excuse for not exercising! Voted up and up!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 

      6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Great resource! Sharing :)

    • TahoeDoc profile image

      TahoeDoc 

      6 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California

      There really are some great apps out there for health and fitness. I'm sure there are more than we could count and everyone's preferences and needs will be different. That's why it's good to know how to evaluate these apps- especially the ones you have to pay for - before installing them.

      There are some good food journal apps out there now too where you can enter and track calories (some by just scanning barcodes on prepared foods) and other nutrients.

      It's amazing what we can use our tiny little phones for now.

    • Naturally Luxe profile image

      Naturally Luxe 

      6 years ago from MA

      Great hub! I really like the Nike+ app to track my runs. I like it because you can run anywhere and still know the distance, time, calories, etc. It also has motivational messages, music and competition features.

    • thebookmom profile image

      thebookmom 

      6 years ago from Nebraska

      Awesome job! Your hub does of great job of first explaining how to evaluate apps and then reviewing some. I learned a lot. Now to decide which ones to try out....

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