5
Aug
14

What to Look for in a Fitness App

Follow these tips, and save your data for the app you really need

 

A Fitness App could be the perfect tool to help keep you motivated during your weight loss surgery journey! But, before committing to a fitness app, ensure it will provide a personal experience and read the reviews.

Search for a fitness or weight-loss app in your phone’s app store, and you’re bombarded with thousands upon thousands of programs promising to help you get in shape. But how do you know which one is right for you without trying them all? Health experts knowledgeable about the fitness app market suggest a few questions you can ask to figure out if the app you’re thinking about downloading is worth your time.

Does it fit your skill level? Apps come in all shapes and sizes, says John Higgins, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Texas ​Health Science Center at Houston, and it’s important to find one tailored to your workout regimen. “Someone who is a newbie or does not like exercising may need an app that is in their face and is going to continually stimulate and encourage them,” Higgins says. “On the other hand, people who are already fit and know the basics are often looking for something more data driven to help them reach that next level.”

[Read: How to Turn Your Phone Into the Ultimate Weight-Loss Tool.]

Is it personal? Everyone’s body is different, so no fitness app should take a one-size-fits-all approach to your health. It’s important to look for apps that tailor their recommendations to you. “The more the app knows about you, the better it’s able to help you,” Higgins says. “If an app doesn’t get any information about your height, weight, age, sex and intensity level, that’s a sign you should uninstall it.”

 

Does it use all your phone’s features? Your phone is a marvel of technology, and the best apps take advantage of all your phone has to offer, Higgins says. “The best apps use your GPS and accelerometer to track your workout,” he says. “Some will use sound to motivate you, and others use your phone’s camera to help you nail down the correct form for an exercise.”

Is it connected? The fitness app you choose shouldn’t be a standalone program – it should work with your other phone apps to give you as large a view of your health as possible. “We know that fitness and health is a combination of diet, exercise, sleep and more,” Higgins says. “Having apps that work together and talk to each other to track all of those factors is imperative.”

[Read: Making the Most of Your Fitbit.]​

Does it have good reviews? While you shouldn’t base your decision solely on reviews, a poorly reviewed app is a sign that it isn’t the one you want, says David Leal​, a nutritionist and health educator at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. “Check for reviews that go into detail about what [the reviewer] did or didn’t like about the app,” Leal says. “You can always test it out for yourself, but if a lot of reviews mention similar issues, you might want to just stay away.”

Is it social? One of the hardest parts of getting into shape is sticking with the program, which is why having people to encourage you and keep you accountable is​ key to reaching your goals. “Many apps will allow you to share your workouts to Twitter and Facebook,” Higgins​ says. “You can have a comparison and competition with friends, and if you see that you’re behind, it might encourage you to work out more to try and beat them.”

[Read: Are Mobile Health Apps Helpful?]

Does it keep you interested? Downloading the best app in the world won’t make a difference if you never actually use it, Leal says. That’s why the right app for you is the one that keeps you interestedand keeps you coming back. “Simply having the app on your phone isn’t going to help you lose weight,” he says. “They make it easier to engage in good behaviors, but it’s ultimately up to you to go out and exercise.”

This article was originally published by US News Health

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