Fit

Sports woman checking fitness result on mobile phone 

There are phone apps for just about every interest and need, including keeping fit.

If you’re not sure what to do for exercise, an app can help guide you through a workout. If you need a running coach, there is an app for that, too.

I was asked to review some apps for this column, so I chose a few that I hope will be helpful. All are available for either iPhones or Androids – and all of these are free. You can, however, buy full versions of these, which will remove ads and offer other perks such as custom workouts.

Sworkit vs. Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer

I attend CrossFit classes three days a week, but I also love core work – so I downloaded two apps to compare: Sworkit Abs & Core and Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer (which also has workouts for cardio and other body parts).

Both apps offer 3 to 5 seconds to transition between exercises and the ability to choose the length of your workout session.

You can work out up to 60 minutes in Sworkit, while Daily Workouts has 5-, 8- or 10-minute options at two different skill levels. The full version of Daily Fitness has a third level and more time options.

Both apps have 10 exercises per session, but only Daily Workouts lists them. Even though Sworkit announces the upcoming exercise 10 seconds prior, I appreciated seeing the list up front.

Both provide a video clip to demonstrate each exercise.

The key difference between the two – and the reason I preferred Daily Workouts – is the information given for each exercise along with the video clip. You are able to disable this option, but I think it is important if you are new to exercise. Explanations such as, “Keep right elbow under shoulder, stack the feet and squeeze inner thighs” for a right-side plank will make your workout clear, safe and effective.

For some reason, Sworkit has a 30-second break in the middle, which I found odd. I also did not like how at least one of the exercises was done. For instance, the demonstrator held the forearm plank for just 10 seconds, got out of the plank, and then got back into it for another 10 seconds. Even if someone is very new to doing a plank, they could just stop if they needed to rest rather than move in and out of it.

Other apps

To help keep my life in balance, I downloaded Insight Timer, a very popular app with more than 20,000 free meditations.

I’ve been meditating off and on for a number of years, so I am not a newbie. But this is a convenient way to get a few moments of peace in my day.

You can sit for as few as 5 minutes or more than 30, setting a timer of your own duration. If you’ve never meditated before, you’ll be guided through it. You also can focus on getting more restful sleep, improving your relationships or boosting your self-esteem. There are even meditations for children, so you can get them started on a healthy habit early.

There are so many other apps, and it is easy to spend a lot of time syncing them to your phone or joining communities. These can be valuable if you need the support or want to let your workout or run calculate how many calories you burned or save it to your food journal app.

Just be sure you stay focused on the reason you downloaded the app in the first place – to get some exercise and to live healthier.

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