Get fit with your smartphone with our favourite fitness apps
On a new year fitness kick? Get some help from your smartphone with these top fitness apps...
We use our smartphones for texting, tweeting, chatting, shopping and Skyping so why not for getting in shape?
The fitness bug has swept the nation in the first two months of the year for what seems like forever. Gym memberships soar (before falling a few weeks later), unlikely looking runners take to the street at ridiculous times in even more ridiculous weather and we all try to go for a cereal bar or apple rather than chocolate and crisps at lunch.
But aside from exercise, healthy eating and gritty determination, we now have another ally in the battle of the Christmas bulge - a small, slim piece of plastic and metal that sits in the majority of our pockets and handbags.
Ofcom reckons more than 50% of Britons now use a smartphone, and apps that run on the devices are helping us get fit.
Here are a few of our favourite apps.
Fitbit (free iOS/Android)
Fitbit makes wristbands and other monitors that record how much distance you cover and how many calories you burn when exercising.
But by hooking it up to the Fitbit app on your phone you can take things a step further - tracking your daily goals and watching how you improve (or regress) over time.
The first months on the year are decidedly low on motivation, but seeing you're getting faster in cold hard stats could provide just the inspiration you need to keep on slogging away. With graphs and some serious data crunching going on, stattos will love this app.
Check out our Fitbit Flex wristbands.
Reebok Fitness (free: iOS/Android)
Don't have enough time to commit to working out? Too busy to decide what kind of exercise can fit into the little time you do have?
How about letting your smartphone work everything out for you? Tell the Reebok Fitness app how much free time you have and whether you're into running, walking, dance or even yoga and it'll come up with a plan tailored to you and send it to your phone.
If you've been rolling out the tired 'I just don't have time for exercise' line you're going to need some new excuses.
Fitocracy (free: iOS/Android)
Remember how good you used to feel when you completed massive trick combos on Tony Hawk's skateboarding on your PlayStation? Well the same feel-good incentive can now be applied to your real as well as your virtual fitness regime.
The Fitocracy app blends the worlds of health tracking, social networking and gaming, providing points and encouraging you to 'level up' to the next stage.
You can compete with friends in special challenges, and join groups where you can chat about people with similar goals to yourself - after all how deflating is it when you just start the gym and everyone seems buff and super fit in Lyrcra and short shorts while you're flabby and struggling for breath in baggy tracksuit bottoms?
Withings Health Mate (free: iOS/Android)
The Withings Pulse is a thumb size fitness tracker that monitors everything from the number of steps you take to your heart rate and sleep. You can also buy separate WiFi scales and a blood pressure monitor.
This sounds like a lot of data, so how do you make sense of it all? With the Withings Health Mate app. At the push of a button you can send data from your Pulse or scales to the app via Bluetooth.
There it's separated into four different categories - weight; activity; sleep and heart. You can see how these are improving as the bubbles they sit in fill with colour.
The app also works with some devices not made by Withings, and if you want to see progress made with one specific device just click on its widget for a full history.
Find out more about the Withings Pulse.
Have a different favourite fitness app? Let us know all about it in the comments below…