We have a guest blogger today, Jessica LeCrone. Jessica works in the Undergraduate Library and has wanted to be a runner for years. After many false starts, she hopes to get going on that (and will use a handy fitness app to help) as a New Year’s resolution. In the meantime, she “walks like a runner” with Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home DVDs and also enjoys cooking and playing with her two daughters.
Jessica in her first ever color run !
The holiday season is officially upon us, and some of us are already looking ahead to next year, specifically to fitness-related resolutions. But if you’re more of an in-the-now kind of person, you may be wondering about how to stay fit and keep holiday weight gain at bay. The good news is that technology is here to help!
Here are some free (or quite inexpensive) apps that you can download to your smartphone or i-device to help you increase your fitness (and hopefully decrease your chances of weight gain) over the next few weeks:
- MyFitnessPal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/, free)
This is a combination nutrition and exercise tracker, which you can use as an app on your smartphone or online at www.myfitnesspal.com. You can connect with your Facebook profile or an email address, and once you get set up, MyFitnessPal is super easy to use. Based on your input, MyFitnessPal will create a target daily calorie goal for you (or you can set your own goals), and then all you have to do is log what you eat. MyFitnessPal’s food database contains over 4 million foods, plus you have the option of importing your own foods and recipes. Although the biggest focus for MyFitnessPal is counting calories, you can also track your exercise, and your calorie allotment for the day will adjust accordingly. If you have a fitness tracking device, such as a Fitbit, or use an exercise tracking app, like MapMyFitness, you can link them to your MyFitnessPal account so that your exercise is logged automatically!
- Get Running (http://splendid-things.co.uk/getrunning/, free)
This app is basically a Couch-to-5K running plan, which works on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android smartphones. Get Running provides you with human voice (her name is Claire!) instructions during each exercise session, and can be used alongside whatever music player you like to use (the built-in iTunes player, Spotify, Pandora, etc.) – Claire will just break in during your song to tell you what to do next. This is a great app for those among us who have not done much (or any) running in the past, but would like to. Each session builds on the last, so that in nine weeks you can go from a strictly walking-only routine to running a 5K! You can also redo or skip sessions if you’d like to go along at a slower or faster pace than the app.
- MapMyRun (http://www.mapmyrun.com/app/, free)
MapMyRun can be used with both iPhone and Android, and it uses the built-in GPS device in your smartphone to, you guessed it, map your run. You can also map your walk, hike, ride, and walk you take with your dog, all for free! MapMyRun allows you to record the details of your workout, such as how long, how far, and how fast you went, as well as your pace and the elevation of your run. MapMyRun can save this data for you so that you have a comprehensive workout history at your fingertips!
- Power Walk (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/power-walk/id487659511?mt=8, $1.99)
For those out there who aren’t quite ready for running a 5K, but would like to build up to a power walking routine, this is the app for you! Power Walk gradually builds up your fitness level from a 20 minute walk to a 60 minute power walk over the course of 12 weeks. This app has an optional GPS tracker, as well as a journal and goal-setting area. Like Get Running, Power Walk will work alongside your music player, so that you can listen to your own music and still get walking cues from the app. Power Walk is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android smartphones.
For more fitness apps, check out this Healthline article on the best fitness apps of 2014. Here’s to a fabulously fit holiday season!
Thanks Jessica! If you have a topic that you would like to share please contact Zoe, firstname.lastname@example.org