For many, getting fit can feel like riding a frustrating rollercoaster of ups and downs. Thankfully, your smartphone and its many apps are there to help.
"Exercise apps can be a vehicle for behavior change in exercise the same way that a nicotine patch can be a vehicle for behavior change in smoking," Lander College psychology professor Leib Litman told Mic. Litman co-authored a study that found those who used fitness apps to be more active than those who didn't.
The right fitness app can motivate people by helping them get and stay organized with their goals, as well as provide a sense of community and support, Prevention reported. Plus, a 2008 study found that keeping track of daily food intake in a food diary can actually lead to almost double a dieter's weight loss.
Although finding the right app for your fitness goals will probably require trial and error, here are a few to help get you running down the right path:
Fooducate is a free app that simulates a weight loss coach by helping to guide people into making healthier food choices. The app allows people to scan food product barcodes to find out how healthy it is, and will provide alternatives if it's not. It seeks to track the quality, not the quantity of your diet.
2. Lose It!
This free app has a simple interface for tracking calories. All you do is set a realistic and healthy calorie budget and each day, you input your exercise and whatever food you eat. It also connects to many other apps and fitness devices, such as the Jawbone Up, Fitbit and RunKeeper.
Pact is a free app with a very tempting monetary incentive. When setting up a weekly fitness goal, dubbed "pact," you also set up an amount of money that will be deducted from your wager if the goal is missed. In turn, you get paid by reaching your goal — using the money from those who didn't. So, it really does pay to be healthy.
My Fitness Pal is exactly what it sounds like. This veteran fitness app seeks to be an all-in-one resource by allowing you to set and track your progress in what you eat and how much you workout. There are over 6 million types of food in its database, which allows for easy tracking.
5. Diet Hero
If counting calories sounds unsustainable to you then consider downloading Diet Hero for $1.99. This app tries to be an alternative to counting calories by telling you healthy recipes and portion sizes based on the food already in your kitchen. If you don't like what it suggests, you can easily switch it out.