This article appeared originally in the LATimes.
Don’t give up on your fitness New Year’s resolutions just yet — there’s help as close as your smartphone.
“Information on food and exercise has become so available and free on the Internet it’s completely transformed people’s approach to wellness and has liberated the client from being at the gym,” says celebrity personal trainer and motivational speaker Harley Pasternak.
Fitness apps can help monitor progress, set goals and demonstrate proper form — pretty much everything except put in the workout for you. Here are a few of our favorite fitness apps to get you moving:
C25K (Couch to 5K): This encouraging app is perfect for a newbie in a TV binge-watching rut who has the best fitness intentions and needs a nudge to get up and move. Includes voice coaching, and you can use it with music. The goal is to run 5 kilometers (about 3.1 miles) in eight weeks, starting with walking workouts. It’s free, but upgrades cost about $2.99 a month. Once you’ve hit your stride, other running apps to test drive include Nike+ Run Club, Spotify Running, Endomondo and Strava.
FitStar Personal Trainer: This app features former NFL star Tony Gonzalez and evolves with your fitness level based on age, weight and your performance, including the feedback you enter about how easy or difficult it was to perform an exercise. It can connect to Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Jawbone, Apple Health and other services. As with many of these apps, there is a community of users to tap into. The basic version is free, but upgrades will cost up to $7.99 a month. If you like this personalized experience, also check out Sworkit and the Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout.
Yoga Studio: This app includes 65 ready-made classes with voice narration including “Yoga for Runners,” “Yoga for Back Pain” and “Deep Relaxation Meditation.” There’s also a wealth of customized options for beginner, intermediate and advanced practitioners. Cost: $3.99. Another option: Daily Yoga, which offers over 50 targeted yoga sessions and tutorials on over 500 yoga poses. The basic version is free, with upgrades costing up to $7.99 a month.
Still need some motivation to work on your fitness? How about doing it for charity?
Charity Miles is an app for runners, walkers and cyclists that tracks your distance traveled using your phone’s GPS and accelerometer. Corporate sponsors donate to your selected charity based on your results. Charities include Habitat for Humanity, Operation Smile, World Wildlife Fund and the National Parks Foundation. Walkers and runners earn up to 25 cents per mile; bikers earn up to 10 cents per mile. Cost: Free.