Smartphone fitness apps help to keep your health on track

By: Trishna Begam Email
By: Trishna Begam Email

News 12 This Morning / Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- A month into 2012 means many of you likely have already broken your New Year's resolutions -- the most popular of them improving your fitness.

If you're trying to lose weight and log your calories and activities, you can do it all on your phone.

From tracking your steps to to counting calories, fitness apps have flooded the market to help you stay in shape.

"Everybody has a phone with them at all times," said Ryan Harris with the Georgia Prevention Institute at Georgia Health Sciences University. "You are more likely to use it."

Harris was surprised by what some apps could do with step-by-step tutorials and individualized diet plans to help you stay fit. Harris says the apps can be beneficial since studies show logging your every bite can help you shed the pounds.

"If you have to log in Oreo cookies, you're likely not going to eat cookies because it's a conscious decision," Harris said. "The ability to log on the go, I think, is useful."

The information doesn't replace your doctor or dietitian, however.

"Just because the app says you should do this, don't just listen to the app," Harris advised.

Check the iTunes store and you'll find everything from "Digi-Fit," which uses the GPS in your phone to track your every move and estimate how many calories you burned, to "Lose It" where the user can set goals and see how much they need to eat and exercise to meet them.

"Most of these apps are based on general equations," Harris said. "They all have similar inputs you know height, weight."

For Harris, it comes down to user friendliness. Some apps are easier to navigate.

"Can I click a button and enter in an exercise? Or do I have to go through a bunch of menus to get to where I want to be?" Harris asked.

Keep in mind that the creator behind the apps may not always be a trained physician. Harris recommends exercising caution when you choose one.

The best website to visit to find a reliable smart phone app for fitness is here. These are apps are designed by health experts and are published by the government.

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