Keeping track of exercise has never been so fun, easy
Many have said there are Smartphone and computer apps for everything. When it comes to tracking your running and biking for regular exercise, this is clearly the case. There are dozens of exercise apps out there. So many in fact, that deciding what works best for you can be a challenge.
As someone who bikes on a regular basis, using an app on my Smartphone to track my efforts has had many benefits.
They all work on one basic premise. These programs all have a built-in GPS to track exactly how far, what route, how fast, how many calories, and even elevation gain/loss of your ride or run. They work like a stopwatch that you start and stop at the beginning and end of your workout. There are motivational tools to compare your routes with others, you can create challenges with others (or yourself), see routes on Google Maps, share information with friends through social media, even be chased by zombies to push yourself even harder.
Many of these apps are free, but will offer expensive upgrades that, unless you are a serious competitor, are not really necessary. The thing to keep in mind is that a more expensive app doesn’t mean it’s better. Here are three that rise above the pack regardless of your expertise level as a runner or cyclist.
Strava: Basic version is free, premium $29.99
This is one of the most popular exercise tracking apps and one used by many Claremonters who bike and run in the area. The Claremont Hills Wilderness Park in particular has almost 2000 bikers who compare their times around the park through Strava, for example.
I use this app for my biking. I like it because the design is clean, it’s easy to use and the free version does not blitz you with annoying ads. Each time I ride, I get a complete readout of everything I’d ever want to know about my trek. Since I save each and everything, Strava tells me how far I’ve gone for the week and month, including other choices.
You can also install the application on your computer, which makes it even easier to view your stats. The free version works great. Strava started as a biking app, but now includes running with all these impressive options. And if you are a serious rider, you will really enjoy comparing yourself against other cyclists who ride the roads around Claremont. You may even find someone you know who is a Strava user.
Map My Ride/Run: Basic version is free, MVP $29.99 yearly
I started using this app before moving over to Strava. It’s still a good choice that actually has even more options like logging your food intake, finding friends and even giving coaching advice.
Of course, many of these options are with the MVP version only, which is quite expensive. Using the free version is not as streamlined as Strava, especially with the more cluttered design and pop-up ads that constantly try to get you to buy stuff or upgrade. The one advantage over Strava is the stopwatch only works when you are moving. So if you stop for a rest, lunch or just a water break, you are off the clock. It automatically starts again when your run or ride continues, providing a really accurate readout on how fast you were travelling. I found this quite handy during long bike rides where I may stop to enjoy the sites.
More serious riders tend to use Strava (especially bikers who climb hills), but Map My Ride/Run has all the bells and whistles and excellent maps to view your routes. It will just take a little longer to figure out how it works best for you.
Zombies, Run! $3.99
Do you find it difficult to stay motivated once on the road for your regular run? Then this app may fit your needs. Like the other exercise tracking apps, Zombies will track your run, but also make it a game to get outside and exercise. This app is perfect for people who struggle to get going, but want to exercise on a regular basis.
Headphones are needed to hear updates on how the living dead are about to catch you, so you need to keep running! It’s really an audio adventure during exercise and the only way to get away to safety is run! It even works on treadmills.
This app clearly is a winner because of the fun factor, but won’t have as many options to track your exercise routine as Strava and Map My Ride.
Whatever app fits your lifestyle, the good news is there’s plenty of help to keep you in shape.