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Fitness apps to get you moving

Jan. 9, 2017

Have a New Yearís resolution to get in shape but abhor the gym? Fitness apps may be the solution.

Technology has advanced greatly, and current fitness apps provide people with much better access to information, said Jeana Anderson Cohen, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor who founded and operates the fitness website www.asweatlife.com

"These apps and programs, videos and tools allow them to be efficient with their time and their bodies," she said.

And a gym membership isnít needed, either. "If you have a body, you have a gym," Cohen said.

While there arenít as many new fitness apps being created because of the rise of wearable fitness devices like Fitbit, which create their own motivations and experiences for users, fitness trainers picked their favorite new and established apps to help anyone with a smartphone get exercising.

Cody. This new subscription-based app has videos of certified trainers leading classes. Many of the classes focus on flexibility and strengthening exercises like yoga and Pilates, but it also has weightlifting and nutrition classes, with single classes and series available. Cohen is especially pleased the videos show trainers with varied body types, and the videos are accessible to people of all fitness levels.

"They also have body-weight workouts that are accessible to anyone no matter where they are," she said.

Stepbet. One of the easiest ways to start a new fitness regime is to simply walk more. Dr. Bridget Scott, of Scott Chiropractic, recommended a new walking game app from the founders of DietBet called StepBet. Users bet against themselves on personalized targets, and they can win money when they reach their goals. The competition angle can be a catalyst to get sedentary people moving, she said.

"When thereís money and competition involved, thereís motivation. And you canít cheat because the Fitbit tracks your progress," Scott said.

Sworkit. Cohen and Scott said Sworkitís videos are good for beginners, although theyíre accessible to anyone with fitness goals. Scott said itís her favorite recent app. "Itís free, simple and can be customized to your body type and specific needs. I love the variety of strength, stretching, cardio, Pilates and yoga options, all with no gym or necessary equipment. It also syncs with MyFitnessPal and Google Fit, among others." Scott said. Free and subscription versions are available.

Spotify Running. The music app Spotify has been around for a while, but recently it added a section devoted to runners. It uses an algorithm to create special playlists based on the userís movement. Tracy Chudnow, chief sweat officer at WheelPower Studio, swears by it.

"This app measures your running pace and then finds songs with a beats-per-minute to match it. For me, itís all about being on the beat and losing myself in the music. This app helps with that," she said. Free or subscription versions are available.

Zombies Run! Need some distraction while exercising? Christian Koshaba, owner of Three60fit Gym, says this interactive game app is fun and offers a high-intensity workout. Users listen to a story and pick from 200 "missions" or create their own interval training. "(Users) gather supplies, plot rescues and survive in the end times while getting in a great workout," he said.

Daily Workouts Free. For beginners who donít know where to start and arenít ready to commit funds, Lisa Payne, a personal trainer who works with private and corporate clients, likes Daily Workouts Free, a no-frills app. "Itís just 10 workouts and covers the basics. Itís very short. Itís great for people who want to get up early in the morning and get something in," she said.

Fitness Buddy. For people who want to know the "why" behind their exercise, Payne recommended subscription-based app Fitness Buddy. Not only does it have a multitude of exercises, it shows users the muscle groups being worked and other exercises to compliment the moves, making it very educational. Plus thereís a community where users can discuss what theyíve been doing.

"They may tell you how to do a squat, but also the biomechanics behind it and what I need to improve on, and it gives proper form. Form is really huge, so people donít get injured. Itís like having a personal trainer in your house without having to hire one," Payne said.

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