Your phone as your personal trainer
Get healthy just by staring at your phone.
With Christmas rolling into Chinese New Year, this time of year can often feel like one big binge. With months of eating too much and moving too little, there's no better time to make your phone start working for you - try out our pick of apps below that will help you tone up, slim down, eat well and take better care of yourself.
A pedometer, GPS tracker and music player in one, your smartphone is already one of the most useful running buddies around. C25K ("Couch to 5K") is one of the best apps for beginners – setting manageable goals and alternating between jogging and walking to take you from zero to hero in eight weeks. If you need more motivation, try Zombies, Run! for similar escalating workouts built around the fear of being eaten by a horde of undead monsters (through your headphones). And if you're already a runner but looking for something new, Motion Traxx gives you coaching tips and customised workout music to match your pace.
There are plenty of apps to help you set and meet individual fitness goals, but there's no substitute for a real personal trainer - which is where apps like Fitnet and PEAR Sports (both iOS only) come in. Both operate subscription models (that cost a lot less than a gym membership); both offer a real-time connection with a genuine personal trainer who monitors your progress, sets objectives and chats with you via text. If you’d rather go it alone, check out Sworkit - a vast library of workout videos you can fit into your own schedule. Set your time limit, your muscle group and reps, and be well on your way to becoming your own PT.
Likewise, you’ll be spoilt for choice these days when it comes to yoga apps. From bestsellers like Yoga Studio and Daily Yoga (both offering a wealth of customisable options and instructional videos) to gems like Kids Yogaverse: I AM LOVE (yoga for kids; iOS only) and FitStar (yoga with Strala guru Tara Stiles), there’re almost too many to choose from. For something a bit different, try a micro-workout (5 Minute Yoga; iOS only), yoga in the office (Salute The Desk; iOS only) or the ultimate healthy alarm clock - Yoga Wake Up (iOS only).
Counting calories isn't always easy - but it doesn't have to be difficult if you've got an app like the Health Promotion Board-approved Healthy 365, which provides you with an easy-to-use interface to keep track of what you're noshing. And if you're trying to lose weight, why not make a bit of money at the same time with DietBet - bet against your own weight loss goals to win money from a communal kitty.
Getting a good night's sleep is just as important as exercising and eating well. Sleep Cycle tracks your sleep patterns during the night so it can wake you up at the best time for your body. Stay calm during the daylight hours too with Meditation Studio, the app that lets you practice mindfulness with expertly guided audio lessons scheduled around your daily routine - or try H*nest Meditation for something similar (with a lot more swearing…).