As iPhones get better and more affordable, more and more of my friends and colleagues are opting to replace their current mobile devices with this all-in-one gadget. And while many of them are having fun downloading random, pointless applications that pour virtual beer or sound like light sabers, not many of them have realized yet that the iPhone can also help transform their health and fitness goals.
Besides the convenience of having a phone and an MP3 player all in one (not to mention email, an Internet browser, and GPS, a nice feature in itself when you're heading out for a walk or a jog), the iPhone gives you the ability to download countless applications straight from the iTunes storemore than 500 in the Healthcare and Fitness category alone, and most of these for just a few bucks or less.
Heres a sampling of some we like; links are accessible via iTunes. Most are also compatible with the iPod touch, as well, if youre not quite ready to give up your old cell.
This comprehensive exercise database provides clear pictures and instructions for more than 130 unique exercises, sorted by body region or specific muscles targeted. You can build custom workout lists for different days of the week, add your own moves and photos if your favorite exercise is missing, and save or email your progress updates.
This searchable database of food and exercise lets you look up and keep track of your daily activities in order to stay within your daily calorie allowance. If youve got a weight loss goal in mind, LoseIt can calculate the date youll reach that number, based on your daily progress. For hard-core dieters, there are other paid calorie counters with more foods and more featuresbut for someone who just wants to keep track of her numbers day to day, this is a great free tool.
RunKeeper (Free with ads; $9.99 without)
It's not just for runners: This mileage tracker uses the phones built-in GPS (its not compatible with iPod Touch or first-generation iPhones) to enable runners, walkers, hikers, bikers, and even skiers to track their outdoor distance, duration, pace, and altitude. You can download and store your data on your personalized online dashboard and share activities with your friends.
Yoga Trainer PRO ($3.99)
Hundreds of poses, step-by-step instructions, and voice alerts let anyonebeginner to advancedpractice yoga wherever and whenever; you can even customize your own yoga sequences. Coming soon from the same company are Pilates and Tai Chi apps, as well.
Download this app, sync your iPhone with a heart rate monitor, and youll be able to track your speed, distance, and power while on a Spinner, road, or mountain bike. Hook it up to the SMHeart Link receiver ($150) and sync it with a heart rate monitor, and you can program your workouts with heart-rate goals in mind.
Have you tried any of these applications, or do you have a favorite of your own? If you've got an iPhone, let me know what you think!