10 Apps to Increase Your Fitness and Support Good Health

Are you wanting to get in shape, shed weight, feel better or gain that competitive edge? An important part of setting and maintaining fitness goals is using the right tools to help keep you on track. Whether you’re a gym rat, an outdoor adventurer or you prefer the quiet of a yoga mat, are you making the most of your routine and developing healthy habits? Is the food that you eat fueling your engine properly? Could you train less, but more efficiently? Perhaps it’s simply time to get off the couch and take that first step. Today we’ll take a look at 10 apps that support your good health and may even put a little zest back in your workout.

TrailRunner

Planning and tracking outdoor workouts has never been easier than with this fully featured app. If you’re into running, cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing or simply taking a stroll, Trailrunner will help you manage and keep track of all your activities. Paired with one of the many supported GPS devices (including Nike+ and iPhone), Trailrunner can import and export your favorite routes.

With excellent graph features, mapping services and exercise planning, every tool you need to monitor your workouts is right at your fingertips. You can keep a journal for yourself, blog about your adventures or share your routes with others, all from within the app. A Trailrunner Mini version is available at the Mac App Store.

Price: Donationware
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6
Developer: Berbie Software

Pocket Yoga

There’s no substitute for getting to a yoga class with hands on instruction. However, for the occasions when this isn’t possible, Pocket Yoga provides a great way for you to get in a workout and stay flexible. With rich graphics and detailed pose instructions accompanied by voice guidance, you can enjoy the benefits of yoga while at home, on the road or in between a busy schedule. Pocket Yoga offers three levels of practice, three duration settings, and over 145 different poses – you can choose a session to meet your needs and ability.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Rainfrog LLC

iKeepactive

iKeepactive is a comprehensive tool that was designed for creating and scheduling workouts, as well as recording and monitoring fitness results. Features include the ability to create custom workouts from the app’s own library and keeping track of calorie usage.

With the iKeepacitve’s iCal integration, reminders will prompt you when it’s time to workout. Monitoring fitness progress is supported with a photo journal, food diary and two onboard fitness calculators. An iKeepactive lite version is also available from the Mac App Store.

Price: $14.99
Requires: Mac OS x 10.6.8 or later
Developer: iKeepactive

Perfect Diet Tracker

Getting a handle on proper nutrition, weight management and meal planning is the focus of Perfect Diet Tracker. Whether you’re needing to lose weight, bulk up, or improve your diet and nutrition, this robust app will help you stay on track.

Create goal-specific diet plans and menus from a nutritional database of over 85,000 products. Perfect Diet Tracker’s smart search feature allows you to access nutritional data for those unique or hard to find food items. Monitor your progress with informative graphs and reports. Perfect Diet Tracker supports multiple user profiles – keeping user data separate from each other.

Price: $24.99
Requires:Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Byoni

Daily Workouts

If you’ve got 10 to 30 minutes and are looking for a rigorous, full-body workout, Daily Workouts could be just that app you need. Routines are generated from over 100 randomly selected exercises to create unique workouts targeting the whole body.

If you want to work on specific muscle groups, targeted muscle group routines can also be created. As an alternative, you can select from your favorite exercises and create customized workouts. Each exercise is guided by a certified personal trainer complete with video demonstration.

Price: $3.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Danile Miller

Beatunes

Some athletes call it “the zone”, others call it “the groove”. Regardless of the name, we all know what it feels like when getting into a rhythm during our workouts. And what better way to get there than by listening to our favorite music while we train?

Beatunes is an app that will help you create perfect workout playlists by analyzing your music library and tagging each song with its own BPM (beats per minute) count. Armed with this information, you can create dynamic playlists custom-made for any type of workout. Beatunes can detect the key of each song for creating playlists of songs with similar tonal qualities. It can also create matchlists based on an individual song. A whole host of other features includes lyric importing, dupes elimination and meta tag cleaning. Whether listening from your computer or your portable device, now you can always workout with your favorite music – fine-tuned for any activity.

Price: $34.95
Requires:Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
Developer: Tagtraum Industries

Absorb Water

Staying hydrated is key to any exercise routine. It is a vital part of staying healthy and fit. But how many of us actually get enough water into our bodies, even when not exercising? Absorb Water is a handy app that will help you monitor how much water you are consuming from the various foods and liquids that you ingest over the course of a day.

In fact, it will track how much water that you are “stealing” from your body when consuming things like coffee and alcohol. A color-coded urine calculator will help you track your habits over time and give you a more complete picture of your body’s overall hydration (odd but effective). As the developer states, the app’s not happy until you’ve had a minimum of 12 full glasses of water each day!

Price: $2.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: ilifetouch

Pranayama

It all starts with the breath. Pranayama is an app designed to teach you to breathe more deeply and more consciously. The health benefits of deep breathing include feeling more relaxed, having more energy and reducing stress.

So how does Pranayama work? The onscreen animated graphics and timer will guide you through a deliberate technique of inhaling to a count, retaining the breath, exhaling and then retaining the exhale. Think of it as a seated workout as all of the cells of the body receive oxygen-rich blood. Beginner to advanced levels are available as well sessions of varying duration. Pranayama can be experienced in a dedicated practice period or at shorter intervals throughout the day while at the computer. Sounds easy? Perhaps not. Give Pranayama a try.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Saagara LLC

Relax Melodies

The flipside of the exercise coin is solid rest and plentiful sleep. Slowing down and arriving at the place of falling asleep can be a tricky one for some of us. Relax Melodies offers a healthy approach to finding that sweet spot. The app builds upon 92 soothing and relaxing ambient sounds that will help you drift off peacefully, including six binaural beat frequencies for supporting brainwave entrainment.

Arrange custom “playlists” of your favorite sounds. Volume and timer settings will help you prepare the ideal listening environment. A built-in alarm will gently wake you with a gradually increasing volume. With a good night’s sleep, you’ll be well rested and ready for that next workout routine.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Ipnos Software

iCaching

Sometimes it’s all about the thrill of the chase, even when the object of your desire is hidden in some obscure, out-of-the-way place. Geocaching is the activity of using a handheld GPS device to locate a cache of “hidden treasure” by using coordinates, clues and clever riddles left by the cache’s creator. Always entertaining, geocaching is a great excuse to explore new places, meet new people and yes, oftentimes get in a great workout.

iCaching is a desktop companion app that will allow you to organize and track your conquests. Import and export gpx files directly to and from numerous supported devices or directly from the popular Geocaching.com website. Add your own notes and waypoints, create libraries and view your routes on an interactive map. You may not always locate the cache of your desire but iCaching will always show you where you’ve been and help you locate that next cache.

Price: $14.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: MLA de Reus

Conclusion

Today’s roundup reflects the growing connection between technology and our lifestyle choices. Computers can be powerful tools in supporting our health and fitness goals. Ironically, they have also given rise to a more sedentary way of life for some of us. Sometimes turning off the computer is actually the first step towards engaging the impulse to be active. “Go outside and play” as Mom used to say.

What apps do you use for supporting your fitness goals? How do you balance time spent in front of a computer and participation in your favorite activities?


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