In the last three years, the number of us using health and fitness apps has increased by more than 330%. Estimated to be worth £460 million by 2020, the industry shows little sign of slowing down and with our daily lives now so integrated into our smartphones, it's no surprise that we're using apps to supplement our lifestyles.
Whatever exercise you're into or whatever you'd like to get into, there's an app for it somewhere. There's everything from performance trackers, dieting advice, live-stream fitness videos, training plans and more.
Price and quality can vary dramatically.
Not all apps are designed or made equally, and it can be disappointing to download and then delete those that have failed to deliver. Once you do find a health and fitness app that works for you, however, it can be hugely motivating. We don't always realise how far we've come in our training. Improvements can sometimes, frustratingly, occur in small increments and they're not always immediately noticeable in the mirror. Apps that offer performance tracking and monitoring can be a great motivator – even when you're panting and sweating as much on day twelve as day one.
Fitness apps are a great way to give us a break from the workouts we usually do and mixing up a fitness regime can mean a change of scenery for a few days or weeks. Resting or ratcheting up the intensity on a specific muscle group can benefit us mentally as well as physically. Apps are a great way to try new things, new stretches, new workouts, new diets in new places.
Apps are super convenient, too.
When was the last time that your phone WASN'T in your back pocket or within arm's reach? If you're going on holiday or if you've missed the gym or if your PT is sick, then there's no excuse not to work out wherever you are at that moment. Fitness apps often don't require any special equipment providing a useful interim between training so you don't fall off the wagon entirely.
You're probably already familiar with the big name fitness apps. They're great and everything, but they can feel a little too serious. Fortunately, there are apps that offer a little bit of fun to help keep you motivated. Honestly, they're probably not going to take the place of Nike+, Runkeeper, Strava etc BUT they should keep you entertained whilst your exercising, even for a short while.
These apps might not be as strict or as serious as others that you regularly use, but if you're doing them properly then they'll still leave you sweating and that means protecting your headphones from moisture damage with a pair of EarHugz. EarHugz are anti-bacterial, machine washable and sweat resistant and come in a range of awesome designs.
And for every pair sold, £1 is donated to the Mental Health Foundation.
Available on App Store and Google Play First 4 missions are free & then unlock one extra mission each week OR pay to upgrade for 300+ story missions.
Zombies, Run! Was the highest grossing health and fitness app within two weeks of its release date back in 2012. Whether you're walking, jogging or running, this app could help you move a little quicker. You're not just listening to a storyline; you're participating in the action.
You're Runner 5 heading towards the Abel Township outpost; your job is to gather supplies and avoid the approaching zombie hordes – a pretty stellar motivation to be fair. The clever thing about this app is it uses your phone's GPS to detect your current speed and during the “zombie chase” feature you're warned when the undead are near which means upping your pace by 20% or lose precious supplies. What's good about this app is that whilst the narrative and storyline are gripping enough to keep you running, there's still the chance to listen to your own music, too, whenever the dialogue dies off for a bit.
Run, Zombies! Is ideal If you've not been out of running for a while or if you're looking to start as a first-timer with a bit of fun.
You know the deal with the carrot and the stick, right? God knows we've all met personal trainers who fall somewhere between the two BUT now there's an app, only we're not sure they've understood the concept because Carrot Fit is a weight loss app that's a bit of a dick. We wouldn't want to see what the stick is.
This is a weight tracker. Although there is a workout session, too, and it's pretty amusing to follow. Put on a few pounds? This app will insult you, call you fat and then electrocute your avatar in retribution. If you're feeling a little delicate about your weight, then this probably isn't going to appeal to you.
Got a sense of humour about the few pounds you've been carrying since Christmas, though? Then a bit of tough love might be just what you need.
Available on Apple Store and Google Play £2.59
The 7-minute superhero workout comes from Six to Start: the company that made Zombies, Run! It's a similar concept to their previous app: combining fitness with an immersive narrative. The plot is pretty entertaining, drawing as the former did by utilizing popular storylines.
In 7-minute superhero, you're the newbie pilot of an AEGIS One Battlesuit training to go up against Earth's ET invaders. There are different parts to the story and inside them, you'll perform different exercises where your phone's front-facing camera will record and track calories and reps. This is great if you don't have any gym equipment as it uses things easy to hand in your home (a chair, a wall) as well as your own bodyweight.
Average reviews on Google Play have it at 4.0 out of 5.0 right now, so you'll have plenty of company when you save the world.
For this app, we'd definitely recommend adding a pair of EarHugz The SuperHero headphone covers. EarHugz are completely reversible, though, so if you're feeling less Adam West and more Christian Bale Batman, you can swap them over for an all-black cover.
Available on Apple Store
For some of us, running is a glorious escape into our own headspaces and playlists with nothing but the road under our feet and the line of the horizon as our destination. For others, running is boring as hell, and it will take more than just the promise of chapped nipples and shin splints to lace up and go. Here's where PAN Studios can help.
They've created a multiplayer strategy running game that uses your phone's GPS to track your route and then mark that route as your territory. You're basically a tomcat in a running kit BUT the more you run the route, the more your territory belongs to you. Other runners in the game can do the same. It's reminiscent of old-school strategy games like RISK but the people invading your territory in this game are other runners or joggers.
You're going to war every time you lace up your trainers. Thank God, you can't fit a mace in your running tights or it would be a bloodbath. Of course, if you are out to do battle and defend you Kingdom, then remember to ask your squire to pack a pair of Green Camo EarHugz to protect your headphones from sweat damage.
At the moment, Run an Empire is accepting Beta testers and has taken down the app from the App Store whilst development continues. They're also working on an Android version. Checking back over the coming months or apply to test it before its re-launch.