Get your iPhone and get off the couch

iphone exercise apps
There are hundreds of iPhone apps out there for measuring fitness, calories, workouts and runs: the problem is, where to start?

Joely Black takes a look at the very best iPhone and Android apps to help you exercise and get fit. All the apps are available from the iPhone app store. Check for Android and other app-loving handsets with the associated apps store.


C25k/Couch to 5k

How it works

The app gives you a schedule to get you running. Instead of expecting you to run 3 miles immediately, it gives users set dates to run, and uses intervals of running and walking for each session. The running sessions increase over time as your body gets familiar with the exercise. Follow the programme and you’ll get to run 5k in two months.

Pros

You can choose to measure by time or distance, whichever suits you. The walking/jogging approach makes it easy to build up fitness over time. There are music playlists you can manage yourself, making the experience much more bearable. You can even publish your progress on Twitter to get encouragement from followers.

Cons

Playing music and using the app on iPhone 3Gs caused some problems, which was rather distracting while running.

iFitness

How it works

Either follow one of the set programmes or build your own. Probably best used as an alternative to wandering about the gym carrying sheets of paper with routines scrawled all over them.

Pros

A bit like carrying around a fitness book, this has everything you need to get a gym workout without an actual personal trainer. It even has pre-programmed workouts for certain types of people, just in case you happen to fit a stereotype (beginner, office worker, etc). It has a massive database of exercise forms with helpful pictures.

Cons

It’s fiddly to input your own personalised workout. If you’re on your very first trip to the gym, you could probably do with something simpler.

Hundred Push-Ups

How it works

Complete a test to work out how fit you are, and then embark on a programme of daily push-ups. Log your push-ups week-by-week, working up to a target of 100 a day.

Pros

Well, it doesn’t get simpler than this. I won’t say easier, because it took me a while to work out how to do the push-ups properly. But, if you’re looking for something that won’t take much time each day, and something you can do in the house, this might be for you.

Cons

It’s boring. Really, really, boring. It’s not exactly varied exercise and just doing push-ups isn’t going to give you a lot of all-round cardio fitness like running. If you try this, you’d probably want to make it one section of a bigger programme.

My Fitness Pal

How it works

Keep a daily diary of your exercise and food intake. There’s an app for adding on the run, but you can also add exercise and food at home via your browser. The databases are comprehensive and you can add your own exercises (although this means working out calories yourself).

Pros

Research mentioned in Richard Wiseman’s 59 Seconds book suggests that knowing how many calories you’ve burned and writing down what you eat and burn up in exercise enhances results. It’s amazing how much better you behave when picking what to eat if you’re going to write it down. You can see exactly how everything balances out.

Cons

It won’t teach you anything, or give you a programme to follow. It’s strictly for recording what you’ve already done.

Daily Ab Workout

How it works

Two five minute workouts you’re meant to do daily, totally abs-focused.

Pros

Nice and easy, with lots of simple abs exercises that you could easily extend beyond the limiting five minutes. If you want something that takes very little time but is a first step toward fitness. It’s not going to take much time out of your day, either.

Cons

There isn’t much else to it, and with only two workouts, it’s going to get old quickly, especially as you get stronger. Like the 100 Push-Ups programme, it won’t give you all-round fitness benefits

Android App Store

Apple App Store

Zune Windows 7 App Store

BlackBerry App Store

[Image: DavidGardinerGarcia]

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