What features should I look for in a great fitness app?

What features should I look for in a great fitness app?

With so many exercise and fitness apps available, it can be difficult to choose the best one for you. Some apps are endorsed by celebrities, many offer diet and nutrition advice, and a few claim to offer an all-in-one solution of mindfulness and meditation programs. There is a lot to consider.

If you’re looking through the iOS App Store or Google Play Store to find the perfect solution to help you jumpstart your fitness regime, here are some features to look for in the best fitness apps.

1. Apps that offer you a variety of exercises

One of the most annoying things about exercise for many is boredom. Repetitive routines will quickly start to annoy you. Even worse, you risk overworking some muscle groups while neglecting others.

The fitness apps you want to stick with contain a variety of exercises in a regularly updated and updated catalog. That way, you won’t fall into the trap of going through the motions.

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2. A personal training program that tracks your progress

Of course, everyone has individual training goals, and your needs will differ from other app users. That’s why the best fitness apps start with a questionnaire that lets you enter key information about your baseline and fitness goals. In return, you will receive a personalized training program for your training journey. So many great fitness apps offer this feature that you can ignore apps that don’t customize their programs to suit you.

Look out for apps like Seven that record and track your progress through the program and even let you unlock more advanced workouts when you reach your goals. Many apps also offer induction programs to acclimate you to the exercises on offer, just like a good gym would offer.

3. Compatibility with your Fitness Tracker or Wearable

Fitness trackers and smartwatches are popular options for anyone looking to record and track their health data. If you own a wearable device, you’ll undoubtedly want to make sure that any exercise app you download will support it and log your exercise.

Apple Fitness+ Workout shown on iPhone and Apple Watch
Image credit: Apple

Some wearables have an entire health and fitness infrastructure to support them, such as Google Fit for Android devices or Apple’s Health and Fitness+ services. Many apps integrate with the most common fitness trackers. For example, My Fitness Pal connects with a variety of activity and step trackers.

4. Apps that challenge you

You are much more likely to stick with an exercise program if you can set and achieve goals and then challenge yourself further. The challenge element ensures that you are constantly improving. Choose an app that will guide you on this journey. One of the most well-known running apps, Couch to 5K helps you develop your fitness levels by following a nine-week program that will prepare you to run a 5K race.

5. Incentives that will motivate you to exercise

Exercising in return for virtual badges or stickers may be acceptable for younger users, but if you’re serious about getting in shape, look for apps that offer incentives that will actually motivate you. So think about what would make you move and choose an app that fits.

For example, if you want to beat your friends or other app users, you can choose an app with social features, such as Nike Run Club. This app offers a huge selection of challenges that you can join or you can even set one up yourself. Connect with your friends, see your place on leaderboards and meet your fitness goals with others.

6. Exercise options that suit your lifestyle and interests

You must look forward to your training; otherwise you find excuses to skip it. Find an app that helps you learn a new skill or a new sport. For example, these great boxing apps can push you out of your comfort zone and unlock hidden potential. Alternatively, you can choose an app that suits your current interests. For example, if you love to play games, you can try apps that reinforce your exercise routines.

If you live a busy lifestyle, you’ll benefit from workouts that don’t take too much time out of your day, such as this series of seven-minute workout apps.

7. Apps that make exercise affordable

One of the best features of using apps to guide your workouts is that it’s so much cheaper than joining a gym. Many are completely free or have reasonable subscription costs. And you can also choose training sessions that require very little space or expensive equipment and that don’t annoy your neighbours.

8. Apps that teach how to exercise clearly

Bad exercise apps do not explain the correct way to perform exercises. At best this is annoying, and at worst you can injure yourself by performing the wrong movements. Always look for apps that offer clear instructions accompanied by demonstrations, such as Workout Trainer by Skimble. This app provides audio, visual and video instructions from experts for each movement.

9. Exercise apps that remind you to exercise

In a busy everyday life, it is easy to forget to set aside time for exercise. You’re far more likely to keep an appointment for a planned workout than to remember to launch an app on your phone. That’s why you should seek out an app that allows you to schedule a class or workout in advance and even add it to your calendar. Then you can receive a notification that reminds you when it’s time to move.

10. Apps that take into account your entire well-being

Well-being is holistic; the best apps appreciate this and offer solutions for your mental health and well-being along with your physical fitness. Look for apps that incorporate mindful meditations and breathing exercises along with cardio and strength programs. The yoga-based app Asana Rebel includes an excellent meditation section.

While it’s easy to neglect this part of your wellness, mindfulness is a crucial element that you can easily incorporate into your stretch or cool down at the end of your workout.

Find a fitness app that suits your individual needs

With so many excellent apps out there, there’s no need to stick to an exercise program that doesn’t meet your needs. Try out some free apps and make the most of the free trials often offered by subscription-based programs. You are guaranteed to find the right one for you.

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