Fitness gadgets are all the rage at the moment with wearable tech booming, but your smartphone can do a lot of it already. Here are the best five apps for fitness on Android.
Thanks to all the sensors and wireless connectivity, namely GPS, your smartphone (or even a small tablet) can help you keep fit and lose weight. There are many apps on the Google Play store which are free but require gadgets to go with them. Fitbit and Withings are just two examples. These devices are great but you don't necessarily need to splash on hardware. See also: Fitbit Force review.
The 5 best Android fitness apps
1. Zombies, Run
If the collection of fitness apps on the Play store seems a bit boring to you then check out Zombies, Run for something a bit different. Here, a clever combination of a fitness app and a game has been achieved. Once you've got your shoes on and your headphones in you can select a playlist of music but you're given story and missions while you run. You collect items and have to build a base. A small downside is that you'll have to pay for the app, but it's currently only £1.49 so it's hardly going to break the bank.
Run Keeper is a great free app that uses your smartphone's GPS and Google Maps to record and chart your jogging activity. Simply set up a profile with your age and weight, log in, press go and start running. Providing you are outside, the app with then lock on to satellites and plot your route. You can easily check your pace, see calories burned and set goals for specific runs or weight loss. If you're wearing headphones, there is even an optional female voice which lets you know how far you've gone every 5 minutes.
So you hate running but love getting out on your bike. Well there's a great app for you, too. Using a combination of GPS and Google Maps, MapMyRide turns your smartphone into a cycling computer with which you can track your route, speed, distance, calories and time to start with. Audio alerts update you on your progress as you pedal. It tracks in the background so you can still listen to music or use other apps. You can also optionally compete on local courses, receive automatic achievements and overall rank on leaderboards adding a nice competitive element.
A huge part of fitness is your diet and CalorieCounter is a great way of keeping track. It can help you keep a healthy diet and also lose weight. A database of food contains more than three million items and cuisines. A handy barcode scanner means you can enter what you're eating quickly and easily. You can track calories, fat, protein, carbs, sugar, fiber, cholesterol and more. Tell the app what exercise you're doing and you can set goals, connect with friends and get reports on how well you're getting on.
5. Instant Heart Rate
Gadgets like the Withings Pulse can measure your heart rate, but don't be fooled into thinking you need specialist hardware for the task. Your smartphone can do it on its own. The app uses your phones built-in camera and LED flash to track colour changes in your fingertip which are directly linked to your pulse. Within a few seconds you'll get a display of your heart rate. It works best on devices with flash, other devices need good lighting. The app is free but a Pro for £1.24 gets rid of advertisements and allows you to store more than five measurements in your timeline.