Attempting to IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS this January? Packing up for the gym and limiting your intake of chocolate is a lot easier with TECHNOLOGY ON YOUR SIDE, writes KATE O’BRIEN. Here’s what to download right now …
During a recent visit to New York, walking was my preferred mode of transport. From Central Park to the Highline and well beyond, I loved every moment. By 4pm on an unusually mild December afternoon my Apple HEALTHKIT app informed me that I had clocked up 18kms (without even trying). After all I was in New York, and what better way to experience the city?
From Adidas MiCoach and MyFitnessPal to numerous other apps designed to help us all become healthier in 2016, getting started and monitoring our progress is easier than ever. Apple is on our side and it’s no longer just about creating the perfect running playlist—they are offering the most efficient regime too.
As well as tracking steps taken and calories burned, HealthKit can access health information from other third-party apps like those that monitor sleep and levels of exercise to gather it all in one place. It can then create an emergency card with blood type and any allergies that will appear on your phone screen. Lest I forget the Apple Watch with features including custom sensors that monitor heart rate, built-in fitness and activity apps that let you know when you’ve exercised for at least 30 minutes and even remind you to stand up when you’ve been sitting for too long. It’s like a mini running coach on your wrist that even tells you if you need to see a doctor (based on not-so-great health results from your heart rate).
While dedicated runners airily tell us how easy it is to build and maintain a steady running regime, a group called Splendid Things have a little more empathy for the rest of us mortals with their GET RUNNING app which does exactly as the name suggests – it guides brand new runners through a nine week training plan comprising three runs a week, with voice instructions to help you along the way. Each run is split into walking and running with the sections getting longer as you progress), all to the rhythms of your chosen playlist. €2.70, App Store.
For a free option try COUCH TO 5K developed by the NHS in the UK and designed to get you running five kilometres in nine weeks courtesy of your online coach Laura. It’s aimed at people who have never exercised.
SWORKIT app is the perfect home workout that many health writers swear by, in particular for toning their abs. It also works on overall fitness, strength and acts as a mini yoga studio. You can either devise your own programme or copy one of the more popular workouts based on your chosen timeframe. And it’s free (premium membership with added extras costs €2.99 per month).
FITNESS BLENDER offers more than 450 free workout videos, from HIIT (High-Intensity Interval training) to yoga, pilates and cardio programmes, from 5 to 95 minutes in length, all at a click. Created by US-based husband and wife team of personal trainers the app also includes customiSed fat loss and toning plans at a cost.
No body part is left untouched in the quest to be fit with the THE INSTANT BUTT TRAINER app beloved of style blogger and Vogue contributor Hanneli Mustaparta whose faultless derriere is testament to its efficacy. Awful name aside, the app is powered by Fitness Buddy, the app offers over 100 free butt exercises and body workouts for people on the run. It’s simple to follow anytime and anyplace. While it is free, there is a hidden agenda with a programme of customised timed workouts like the 7-minute twist, the 11-minute and the ‘Burn It All Off’ – at €4.99/month.
Finally BALLET BEAUTIFUL is your chance to dance your way to fitness this year with the poise and elegance of a world-class ballerina. Developed by New York City ballet dancer-turned–instructor Mary Helen Bowers, this virtual studio offers live interactive group classes, private tuition and an extensive library of instructional videos (all at a cost). I feel the Royal Ballet beckoning …
Kate O’Brien @KateOB99
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