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Best Fitness Apps to Help You Stay in Shape

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As easy as it is to blame smartphones for many of society’s ills–short attention spans, bad social skills, technology addiction, and that’s just a start–you can’t deny that when used correctly, phones can be wonderful for helping you get active. But with so many apps, let alone companies, devoted to giving you ways to motivate and track your health and fitness, it’s tough to know where to start.    Fitness Trackers: Take Your Pick While there are tons of fitness trackers out there, most of them serve the same function. Many have a built-in pedometer and stopwatch feature, meaning that when you go out for a walk, run, or bike ride, you can rely on the app to use your phone’s GPS to save info about your activity. It’s also worth remembering that, in some cases, you’re not just buying into an app; you’re also buying into an ecosystem of apps that track different activities. Among the top fitness tracker suites of apps are MapMyFitness, Endomondo, and FitnessKeeper. One other thing you’ll want to look out for is which apps are compatible with any peripherals you might own. For example, if you have a FitBit, chances are you’re going to have the best time using FitBit’s dedicated app. However, don’t feel too down if you’re not digging your smart device’s app, as most ecosystems will allow you to import and export data to other services. Apps That Will Help You Get Going It’s no good installing a fitness tracker if you don’t know where to start with your exercise, or worse, you don’t have the will to exercise at all. Thankfully, there are some good apps out there that will get you off the couch and get you moving. If you’ve never been much of a runner, curb the intimidation factor by following the Couch to 5K program, which gradually increases your running times each day you go for a jog. There are tons of apps devoted to this, and the top-rated apps are C25K and Active’s Couch to 5K. If you’re already a little more experienced and you need something to help you get out there in the first place, there are some apps that make fitness a byproduct of a much larger (and more fun) experience. Take, for instance, Zombies, Run! With this clever app, you listen to the story of a zombie apocolypse as you run, motivating you to run quicker as you get chased by imaginary zombies. Runtastic also has a similar feature called Story Running, in which you listen to a captivating tale or a motivational speaker to help you push past your limits. While most fitness apps are going to give you an overall similar experience, if you’re a person who gets caught on small details, you’ll notice that there are some differences among the apps. Honestly, the best way to find the best app is to try them yourself – most offer free versions or at least trial periods. And always remember, no matter what app you use, it’s a success if it gets you out there and exercising!