For many people, being healthier is a big part of their New Year’s resolution list. It’s a yearning that never seems to come true. This year can be different, however, with a little help from a fitness app. There are dozens of health-related apps out there, so it’s hard to gauge what you need and what to look for. To get you started, we asked some fitness enthusiasts in Richmond for advice.
Pete Woody, director of public relations and communications Sports supporters, says to look for an app that will enhance your favorite activities. “I think the best fitness or exercise routine for someone has to be something they enjoy doing because then it’s more likely to become a habit,” he says. “In terms of the application, it should have activities and features that someone will enjoy doing and will want to continue doing on a consistent basis.”
Woody says when it comes to app rating, he’s always found it helpful to seek reviews from people you know and trust and ask them about their experiences.
“An app can help you reach your health and fitness goals by providing useful information and motivation and showing you how you’ve progressed in your goals, whether those goals are to walk at least once a day, to train for a marathon or something in between.
He quotes the Strava app, which is popular with runners and cyclists. It allows users to record their activities, find new routes, and view the workouts of other people in their network, among other features. “It helps provide motivation, useful information, and lets you see how you’ve progressed over time,” he says.
Richmond runner and weightlifter Michael Pulley says he uses a fitness app for the main reasons most runners do – to measure distance when training and running, and to check his pace , especially when doing speed work.
His favorite application is a Garmin tracker and the Garmin Connect community. “It has everything I’m looking for including mileage, pace, heart rate, and extra features I’m learning including sleep and stress levels,” he says.
Pulley, who says he has already run six marathons in a two-week period and less than four hours in each run, suffers from heart disease. So he also uses the app to monitor his heart rate and prevent it from getting too high. “You can feel it, sure,” Pulley says, “but having the data to back it up” lets him know he needs to bring his heart rate down.
Gaela Stromberg, owner of CrossFit JoyRide in North Chesterfield, says apps are important for monitoring performance, such as distance and run times, as well as apps for monitoring heart rate variability. “You can use a paper journal, and that’s good because it’s the same idea of tracking data, but harder to quickly retrieve what you’ve done in the past,” she says. “In today’s world of phones and apps, I like all numbers.”
It uses several applications, including Athletic to track recovery, effort and sleep. She says it’s similar to Shout but cheaper and works with its Apple Watch. She also uses the fitness option on her Apple Watch, Sugar wood for gym workouts and results tracking, plus Execution interval for tracking the race.
Apps help motivate her. “I like some kind of reward system to make me feel good. Every time I hit a PR [personal record or personal best], one of my apps will throw confetti and say, “You’re awesome!” I like it! ”Said Stromberg with a smile.