Top free smartphone apps for fitness

Best fitness apps to useFitness isn’t something we can think about once, run through a checklist of things to improve it, and forget about. Just as in other areas of health, fitness must be maintained through small and consistent actions that add up over time. That’s why mobile apps make ideal fitness companions. Because our smartphones and apps are always with us, they become constant reminders to check your progress, stay the course, and keep your willpower strong.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, walk more steps in a day, or make time for a seven-minute power workout in your living room, fitness apps can help.

Charity Miles
Earn money for charities every time you run, walk, or bicycle by using the free Charity Miles app. Corporate sponsors (whose information you’ll see as a backdrop image in the app) agree to donate a few cents for every mile you complete. Browse the app’s list of charities, find the one that you support, and then hit the road. When a lot of people use Charity Miles, those little bits of money add up.

Cyclemeter
The best bicycle-ride tracking app I’ve tested is Cyclemeter by Abvio. This iOS-only app collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, contains several well-thought-out features, and appeals to fitness enthusiasts who participate in more than one sport. Despite the name, you can use Cyclemeter to track walks, runs, and other activities. It does not include a calorie-counting component, but it is packed with data about your biking outings.

Digifit iCardio
If you want real hard stats about your workouts, accelerometers and GPS aren’t enough. You need a heart rate monitor…and an app that can access the information it collects. One option is the Digifit iCardio app for iPhone and Android (it’s called simply iCardio in Google Play). You can pair it with any supported heart rate monitor to track your runs, bicycle rides, and other workouts. Digifit iCardio records heart rate, of course, but also distance, time, and pace. All the components needed to track heart rate can add up, so plan to spend somewhere in the $50 to $100 range to get full use of this app. If you’re in the market for a heart rate monitor, I recommend the MIO Link wristband.

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