These free Android apps help you get in shape

by Larry Sullivan

It wouldn’t be entirely good if you were just to sit around and play games on your Android phone all day. You need to get out and stretch those leg muscles every once in a while, and since there are hundreds of apps designed to enhance your workouts, you might as well take your Android phone with you! Today’s post covers some of the neat apps out there to help you get or stay fit.

Runkeeper – GPS Track Run Walk (Free)

Runkeeper is a fitness app that uses your GPS to track your activity. When you first turn on the app, you will be prompted to make sure your phone’s GPS is turned on and then prompted to set up an account with Runkeeper. If there are problems getting a strong GPS signal, the app will let you know about it. In general, the setup is very simple. You can set the units, primary display, get audio cues for different items, set up Facebook and Twitter, and of course your personal profile.

The layout of the app is also very simple, as there are four main items in the menu. The Start tab is is where you select the type of physical activity such as running, hiking, skiing, swimming and the type of workout. There are some pre-made workouts, but you can set up your own. The next tab is Goals, where you can set long term workout goals. The Activity tab will have a log of what you have done, and finally there here is the Settings tab. The app will sync your completed activity information with their website, where you can view your stats online and even share them with friends.

Runtastic (Free)

When you first start Runtastic, you will need to set up an account via email or Facebook. There is a basic, free version of the app and a Pro version, and the latter sports extras such as voice feedback, live tracking, heart rate sensors, auto-pause, and geo-tracking.

You can access Runtastic’s four screens by swiping back and forth. There is the History screen, which has your past activities, the Map screen, the Go Pro screen (in free version) which gives you all of the extras, and finally the Main screen. On the Main screen, you can select the type of workout: Basic, Workout Goal, Manual, Routes, with each having their own options. After setting your workout, you can select the activity from a long list. When done, hit the Start Workout button and begin. The app will track your pace, speed, and so much more. As a bonus, you can can sync Runtastic with MyFitnessPal.

Sports Tracker (Free)

This is the official app for Sports-tracker.com. As with the other services, you create an account and link it to the website. On their website and within the app, you can access a map of the local area and see what other users are up to. In my area alone, there are currently over 12 users who have uploaded their results. You can add other users to your friends list through the app or via Facebook, and sharing and connecting is strongly encouraged.

The main homepage of the app provides a quick summary of all of your workouts, time spent and energy used. When ready, simply click the Start New Workout button. Next select the activity and the auto-pause feature. The main activity screen will appear and shows your time, distance, speed, and a map of where you are. There is a button to allow you to listen to your favorite mp3s and to take photos as you work out. When done, the app will upload your info to your online account and put it in your diary. There are a number of options you can set in the app, such as your heart rate belt, altitude offset and GPS filtering.

Active.com (Free)

Active.com is a thriving online community for folks that are looking for activities in which to participate. While this app does not track your progress or monitor your heart rate, it will help you find things to do to help you get more fit.

The app is broken down into four sections. There is Read Articles, where you can read articles on a variety of topics. The Favorites section is where your bookmarked articles and activities will be listed for quick reference. The View Your Events section is where you can see what you have done. The main section is Activities. Here you can see what is going on around you. The app allows you to set the location, search radius, sort of date, and search specific types of activities. After you put in your criteria, a list will appear. Click on an item and a new window will open with the specifics. You can favorite the event, see it on the map, get more details, and many times register for it. The app makes it very easy to find stuff to do!

Being active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It is too easy these days, with all of our technology to just sit around. So get out there, and let your Android phone help you!

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