We’re living in the 21st century, which means there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t use the technology that’s available to stay fit and healthy.
According to Google, 2014 was the year of wellbeing in the world of apps, with “Health and Fitness” dubbed the fastest growing category in the Play Store – evidence that your phone could be the key to peak physical performance.
All kinds of gadgets, from heart rate monitors to waterproof gizmos, have also been flying off the shelves – and fitness aficionados still can’t get enough.
Not sure where to start? We round up 10 of the best:
This free app topped the Play Store Health and Fitness downloads list, and it’s easy to see why. It counts your calories, measures your workouts and sets weight-loss and fitness goals.
UK based ergonomics expert Michael Davies says the app’s success is warranted: “MyFitnessPal allows people to actually see what they’re putting in and what they can expect from their eating and physical performance habits.”
2. Daily Yoga
“This is an excellent app if you’re keen on yoga but don’t have time for the studio,” says long-time yogi Natalia Moss.
With over 300 poses, HD video and audio instruction, you’re able to perfect your poses at home. The app is designed for a range of fitness levels and goals, plus gives you access to a community of yogis who help and inspire each other.
3. Nike+ FuelBand
This funky wristband measures Nike’s “Fuel” metric for tracking activity, which converts motion tracked by an accelerometer into an activity rating called Fuel. It allows you to compare your performance at various sports and activities with others on an equal footing, using your Fuel scores.
The wristband integrates a full-size USB connector for charging and syncing, and its LED display notifies you when goals are reached. The band synchs with the app intuitively as long as your Bluetooth is on. It also has a social element allowing you to post updates and photos on your social-media platforms.
Director of Education at the Fitness Professional Institute in South Africa, Derek Archer says Strava has been a hit with those interested in endurance. The app records your activity with compatible GPS devices which you then upload, making it easy to compare your progress with friends and a wider fitness community.
“This adds an element of competition, pushing you to work harder,” Archer says.
Archer also endorses this app by Suunto. It also tracks your moves and allows you to plan routes and future workouts.
Movescount was developed by Suunto, who also offer an impressive range of hi-tech sports watches that synch with apps like Movescount and Strava.
Another app/gadget combination we’re impressed with is this clever eating tool that synchs with your phone. This one is aimed at those who speed eat, causing you to put on extra weight. Sensors in the fork notify you through little vibrations when you’re “speeding”.
It can also track your eating duration and the amount and intervals of fork servings per minute. All your data can be tracked with the accompanying app and transferred with a tiny USB.
7. Finis Neptune
It’s not often you see runners or cyclists out on the road without their iPod plugged in for motivation. And now swimmers can also experience the power of music while they train.
This clever gadget is attached to the swimming goggles, using bone conduction audio to relay music to the user’s ears, without the need for ear buds.
8. Garmin Approach S6
“This is every tech-savvy golfer’s dream,” says social golfer Jens Kamp. “It has all the features you need to really improve your game.” It’s Garmin’s slimmest, lightest GPS golf watch with first-of-its-kind swing metrics built in.
The watch has a colour touchscreen with innovative swing features and it maps with 38,000 preloaded international courses. It also provides blind shot assistance for better situational awareness during the game.
9. Fitbit Charge
The tech and fitness communities rave about Fitbit’s products, and the Charge is the perfect tracker for everyday activity. These sleekly designed watches track your steps, distance, calories burned and show your daily stats.
With a battery that lasts seven to ten days, it’s a competitive choice, plus it monitors your sleep. It also synchs with your phone and computer, and even shows incoming calls while you’re on the move.
10. Fitbit Aria
“The Fitbit Aria is by far the smartest scale I’ve seen,” says Davies. “It’s the most high-tech way for your whole family to track their weight, body fat percentage and BMI”.
Using Wi-Fi, the scale transfers data to your computer, tracking up to eight people’s progress.