Tracking calories and exercise is just an icon away.
Fitness apps are easy, intuitive and really hold you accountable to yourself, said Brian Burkhardt, nurse practitioner at St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute.
Burkhardt’s top five choices:
1. My Fitness Pal: You can track exercises but the coolest thing is tracking calories, no matter where and when you are eating, said Burkhardt.
“No matter where you eat, you can pull up the recipe of what you eat, put in that food and it will actually put the calories in there for you,” said Burkhardt.
So much information, right at hand. Enter a goal for your weight and My Fitness Pal “will help you calculate your weight loss and how many calories you can eat per day,” said Burkhardt. As you enter the food you eat, the app decreases the amount of calories left available that day.
When you exercise, the app actually adds a few calories to a daily allotment.
“It’s a real time readout,” said Burkhardt. Hospital staff and participants – of all ages – in St. Elizabeth wellness programs love the program, which can be downloaded through iTunes or Google Play. “It’s very intuitive and easy.”
2. Know Your Heart Rhythm: “You put your finger on the back part of the phone, on the light, and it picks up the rhythm,” Burkhardt explained. “You can check your heart rate and see where it’s at.” It can help monitor if you suspect your heart is beating too fast or too slow. It can also be used during a workout to see if you’ve reached your target heart rate.
3. Map my fitness: It offers calorie and exercise tracking included in My Fitness Pal. It also has a GPS to track exact running and walking routes. How far? How many steps? How many calories used? “You can challenge friends ” make it a little bit of game,” said Burkhardt.
4. Sworkit: “It has strength, cardio, yoga and stretching” or you can put it in a custom workout, he explained.
Users can enter the amount of time they want to workout, and the app randomly selects different exercises based on the categories you have chosen. It provides a demonstration for five seconds before you start.
“It’s a really good app for home workouts; you can have a beginner workout or very advanced workout,” said Burkhardt. There are customized workouts for runners, golfers, snowboarders, even chair workouts.
5. PulsePoint: “This is a great app for hands-only CPR, which is something we are really trying to stress,” said Burkhardt. The app alerts users who are trained if someone nearby, in a public place, has called 911 with an emergency that requires CPR.
“The toughest thing about this and all the apps is that they are only as good as the time you invest in it and how committed you are to it,” Burkhardt said.