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Stay in shape with the best Android health and fitness apps

Stay in shape with the best Android health and fitness apps

Thanks to improvements in the sensors built into our smartphones, fitness and health apps have never been so popular. They allow us to log various statistics, from the distance of a morning jog to the time spent lifting weights in the evening. If you're in the market for an app to help you record and make sense of all this data, there are plenty to choose from. Here are the best apps for tracking your health and fitness on Android.

Best all-rounder: RunKeeper

RunKeeper has a good reputation and not because of the number of features in its own app, but also the number of third-party services it plugs into (it works with both Google Fit and Apple Health). If you're a keen runner, there aren't many better options than this one.

You can plot your runs on a map via GPS tracking, monitor distance covered and calories burned, set personal goals, integrate your indoor activities and more. Despite the app's name it can handle bike rides and gym workouts as well as running, so it's a comprehensive monitoring app.

Don't underestimate the power of community. There are social aspects to the app as well. You can share achievements with your friends, join and create running groups and use the chat feature to keep each other motivated. The app is free, but also has ads and optional in-app purchases.

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RunKeeper offers maps and statistics. / © AndroidPIT

Best for runners: Nike+ Run Club

In addition to having all the features you need to set your goals and track your runs, the Nike+ Run Club app has an energetic and supportive community of millions of runners. You'll never lack motivation again, since with the Run Club you can compare your runs to others on the various leaderboards, participate in group runs, receive trophies and in-run audio cheers from your friends. The new audio-guided running feature with accompanying playlists guides you to improve your speed and endurance, while the personalized coaching plans adapt to your goals and progress levels.

Best for cyclists: Strava

Another well-known app with a strong reputation, Strava comes with a host of handy features, both in the core of the app and via separate add-ons. By tracking your bike riding (and running) via GPS, Strava can help you beat your own personal bests and challenge your friends as well.

Strava lets you track distance, pace, speed, elevation and other statistics as you go, and thanks to the data that's been collected from all of Strava's users, you can check out some of the routes that are popular with other people – even if you're a long way from home.

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Strava covers both running and cycling. / © AndroidPIT

Best training for busy people and beginners: Nike+ Training Club 

Do you ever wish you had a personal trainer? Here's a great alternative for those who are just getting started with fitness or only have time for quick workouts, as it has something for all levels and schedules. There are over 150 workouts, with something to suit everyone's taste, from intense endurance workouts to yoga. If you prefer a training plan, they are available in addition to the individual lessons. Plus, the app features some motivation from athletes like Serena Williams. There's no excuse not to get started, since there are many bodyweight exercises so you don't necessarily need equipment. And, of course, it syncs with Google Fit and Nike+ Run Club.

Best for simplicity: Google Fit

Google's own health and fitness app is no longer so sparse in the features department. It now can aggregate info from other apps, including Nike+, MyFitnessPal, Lifesun, Basis, Withings, Xiaomi Mi bands, and three from this list: Runkeeper, Strava and Sleep as Android. It is tightly integrated with Android and Android Wear, so it's a convenient option as well. A web interface is available at https://fit.google.com.

Weight, heart rate, steps and activity time can all be logged automatically, and if you have the time to tell Google exactly what you're up to, you can choose from a long list of activities, from snowboarding to horse riding. You can set simple daily goals as well and get an alert when you've reached them. In addition to real-time stats, Google Fit will also give you personalized recommendations and coaching to help you reach your goals.

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Google Fit: Android's default fitness app. / © AndroidPIT

Best heart rate monitor: Instant Heart Rate

It's important to track your heart rate during the different stages of your fitness regimen. Whether this is before, during or after your workout, you should keep an eye on it. Instant Heart Rate gives you accurate heart rates when you need them so you can reach your fitness goals. 

There are plenty of heart rate monitoring apps out there that track through a camera system, but Instant Heart Rate has some features that sets it apart. When you're working out, you can see what your heart rate is and check if it's moving towards the goal you want it to. For instance, you should have a different heart rate for weight loss and cardio and the app measures that. 

Instant Heart Rate's tracking system gives you a timeline of your heart rate so you can track whether you've been hitting your cardio or fat-burning goals. You can also track your resting heart rate to look at the unhealthy stress put on your heart under normal conditions. The Pro version of the app is $2.99 and features unlimited heart rate tracking and no ads.

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Track your heart rate over time with the Instant Heart Rate app. / © AndroidPIT

Best for measuring your body fat: BMI Calculator

If you ever wondered how you're doing with your goals of eliminating excess body fat, then you should try BMI Calculator. The app is really simple, which sets it apart from other body fat measuring apps. All you need to do is plug in your height and weight and it will give you a percentage estimate of your body fat. 

Once the app has calculated your body fat it will give you a recommendation about your exercise regimen. It tells you what category your body fat is in. There are eight classes of body fat on the app and they range from 'Very Severely Underweight' to 'Obese Class III'. It will give you a target weight so you know what your target goal is. Best of all, the app is totally free.

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BMI Calculator gives a target weight for your height and age. / © AndroidPIT

What's your favorite fitness app? How often do you use it? Let us know in the comments. 

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  • I am in shape. Unfortunately it is round. I will need to try some of these apps

    • I know the feeling cause I have a very round belly that up to now I have not been able to get smaller with any amount of exercise.

  • There are really a lot of great health and fitness apps around! Personally I prefer the app YAZIO, which is a food diary and calorie counter. It's extremely easy to use and includes a lot of additional features apart from tracking nutrition. To name some a few: it includes a water tracker, the possibility to sync to your fitnesstracker, healthy recipes and meal plans. So in my opinion the app is quite complete and has everything you need to lead a healthier life. It has definitely helped me to shed the extra pounds and I'm so thankful for that!

  • So many apps for fitness tracking...never knew! Great info...even in the comments.

  • Awesome apps

  • storm Jan 2, 2018 Link to comment

    You need to rate them for privacy. Are there any that don't send back any data at all?

  • I really like Google Fit and Nike + Run Club.

  • I use the Fitrockr App to compete with others in online fitness leagues. It's great fun.

  • Bartal Sports Tracker app has a lot of free features. Free download on google play.

  • I would recommend Rem-Fit to anyone. I love because it allows me to track my activity and sleep, keeping me as healthy as possible.

  • Google Fit is enough for me

  •   18
    Deactivated Account Mar 9, 2016 Link to comment

    To be fit app is not mandatory. Nicely compiled so many apps in one article.

  • I use mainly Runtastic, for Cycling, I am signed up to the above. I find EndoMondo thou you have to sign up to Premium or something.I use to use ALL of them at the same time. However that killed the barttery. I will try on my new NExus 9 thou. See how he faires

  • I recently began using JEFIT which has a very large and well-illustrated catalogue of exercise routines from body weight to a wide variety of equipment. Not personally interested in online tracking or community but that seems to be there, too. It's just good to quickly dial up an alternative workout that's well presented.

    • Have you tried the MUSCLEMATICS app? It has amazing animations that even show what muscles are being used from bodybuilding, stretching, yoga, and pilates. Great resource to have. www.MuscleMatics.com

  • Thanks for the list of apps. I think I only use two of them, but will have to check out some of the others.

  • My wife and I will typically load up the tandem with picnic lunch and dog, cycle somewhere, walk the dog, cycle somewhere else. Possibly use public transport for a stretch and then walk or cycle some more.

    I don't want to be motivated by an app. 

    I don't want to share with anybody. 

    I just want to track my trips and for the app to tell me how much we walked, how much we cycled and how much we rode in bus/car/train. This can be extrapolated from speeds: 0.01 to 6kph = walking, 6 to 30kph = cycling, >30kph = motorised.
    Any suggestions for an app that does this?

  • great article and great apps you can checkout this android app to find low carb recipes :play-google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goldapps-lowcarbrecipes&hl=en

  • I started using Heftr recently. It's a timer app for Android controllable by "accept call" button on the handsfree. It reports timer status with voice. You don't need to take it out of pocket to use it.

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