Top Apps to automate your fitness



Coming up with a workout that doesn’t have “boring” written all over it is essential if you’re going to stick with it.  And sticking with an exercise routine has big payoffs, experts say.  

“Exercise has so many benefits,” says Amy Hess Fischl, MS, RDN, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE, a dietician and nurse educator.  “You feel better and are able to sleep better. Exercise can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and promote a sense of overall well-being.”

Regular exercise also can help improve your blood sugar and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, says Erin Clifford, JD, a Chicago-based Certified Holistic Health coach. “Regular exercise also stimulates various brain chemicals that can make you feel happier and increase your overall energy,” she adds.

Thanks to smart phones and other devices, apps that help you exercise are easy to access. Here are some to consider, and if you don’t have a smart phone or computer, not to worry. We’ll give you some ideas for ways to get fit without any apps at all!

Here are some apps to consider:

Map My Walk

This fitness tracking app can help you liven up your workouts, Clifford says. “You’ll easily track your progress of how long you are walking with this app,” she explains. “And you can slowly build your time until you are walking at least 30 minutes twice a day.” The built-in GPS on your cell phone tracks all your fitness activities and lets you record workout details like distance, pace, and route traveled. Want more info? Check it out here.  

Steps Pedometer & Step Counter Activity Tracker

If you want a basic fitness app that will show you how to gradually increase the length of your walks and build your time until you’re walking 30 minutes twice a day, this app is highly recommended by Clifford. “It’s a fun idea to liven up workouts,” she adds. “You can easily track your progress with your phone.”  The best way to use this tracker is to set a goal. As you walk, you’ll see the colors on the screen changing to show your progress like a sunrise. Visit here to see more

Yoga for Seniors and Adults

If you would like to work on your balance and coordination as well as reduce stress, aches, and pains, Clifford recommends Yoga for Seniors and Adults – here’s the link at iTunes. For those who may have restricted mobility and need easy yoga stretches and routines, this app offers 49 gentle poses for all areas of the body, along with seven simplified full sequences. Individuals who have multiple sclerosis or arthritis may find this app especially useful (check with your doctor first, of course!)

Pocket Yoga

You can view scores of yoga poses and learn how to do each of them in the comfort of your own living room with this app. There is an easy to follow step by step graphic for each pose.  Best of all, poses are divided according to the degree of difficulty so you can click on “beginner” and see how to do poses like Child’s Wide Side Stretch and Caterpillar.  Take a look here for more info

Instant Heart Rate

This app – here’s the info – offers a simple way for seniors to keep track of their heart rate while exercising. You simply place the tip of your index finger on the camera lens of your phone and you will get an accurate reading in seconds.

And if you don’t have a smart phone…

If you are not already an active person, start slow –  5 to 10 minutes of any kind of movement three or more times a day is perfect, Hess Fischl recommends. Then, work up to doing about 30 minutes of some type of physical activity every day,

“Invest in some audiobooks,” recommends biomechanist and movement teacher Katy Bowman, author of “Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility.” “You can get your reading in while also out walking, gardening, or running errands,” she says.

Set realistic goals. “Measure your success by comparing what you can do now to what you couldn’t do last week or last month, rather than focusing on all the things you still can’t do,” Bowman says.

Improve your balance. “Use it or lose it is a cliché but it’s true,” Bowman says. “Getting up and down from the floor requires balance, strength, and core strength,” she says. “So simply practice getting onto and off the floor. If you need a couch or a bed to assist you at first, use it, but be sure it’s not going to roll or slide around.”

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