The year 2017 feels a bit weird now that we’re a quarter way through it. Yes, celebrities are still dying, global warming is still escalating, and somehow Adam Sandler is still paid to make movies. But in the dense darkness of everyday life, humanity is pushing forward in amazing ways. We’re becoming more woke as a result of our political tumult, which is an enormous step forward towards a utopian society of equality for all. In tandem, technology is catching up to the hover cars and jetpacks of childhood imaginations.
While tech might be improving (slowly but surely) in the physical world, we have become cyborgs of a sort when dealing with how our digital lives are improved by apps. Whether it’s Instagram, your favorite game to play while crammed on the subway, or Google anything, apps have made everyday life a cinch.
And with that, achieving the fitness level you desire is all the easier and more available. Here are four free-ish apps (available on both Android and iOS) to improve your health.
1) MyFitnessPal: This is the quintessential food journal. MyFitnessPal counts your calories easily with a searchable food database, logs recipes you’d like to try, and offers a personalized diet regime to aid in reaching your weight loss goals. For those avoiding calorie counters but see no real results in their weight loss regimes, there’s no reason not to give MyFitnessPal a try with its free mobile app.
2) 10K Trainer: This app turned me into a runner. I used to get on the elliptical or bike to get my blood moving for lifting sessions, but while I put on muscle I hardly lost any fat. 10K Trainer eased me into running three times a week using high intensity interval training (or HIIT). The app not only instructs you when to run faster, slower, and cool down, but it helps build confidence in even the non-runners to get their feet on a treadmill. Although there are in-app ads, 10K Trainer is free.
3) Fitbit: You had to have seen this one coming. While there’s a bit of a cheat with this one (you have to buy the wearable to make the app function its best), this is the original social fitness app. It keeps track of your sleeping habits, your daily steps, your exercise and eating patterns, and more. Besides offering a sense of achievement upon hitting the daily 10,000-step goal, the Fitbit app provides fun weekly (or weekend warrior) challenges for you to compete with friends. You can taunt, support, and communicate with competitors while trying to walk the most steps. With the variety of wearables offered by Fitbit, there’s one for anyone, from the beginning fitness enthusiast to the exercise expert–all of which are worth it for the benefits of the app.
4) Charity Miles: Charity Miles is different than the rest of the above. Totally free, it lets you choose the time of indoor or outdoor cardio activity (walking, running, or biking) and you pick a charity for which a certain amount of money is donated per each mile completed. With organizations supporting the education and professional mentorship of young women, animal rights, and veteran assistance, there is something for everyone. If you don’t have the fitness bug, you can still download this free app and use it every time you go out for a walk to the deli for groceries or on your commute to work. Eventually the cents will stack up, you’ll be doing good by getting up and moving, and the app will keep track of your distance traveled. Why not give it a download just to do a little more good in the world?
There are certainly more apps in your device’s respective app store, both paid and free, but these four offer cheap and easy ways to get into fitness and change your health game while possibly doing some good along the way. Others offer workouts for the time-pressed, or specific cardio routines. If none of the above feels right for you, don’t give up! There’s always an app for whatever your needs, fitness included, may be.