The gym is not for everyone. Sweat, weight machines, and treadmills send some people running in the opposite direction. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a gym rat to be healthy. Use the technology at hand (your smartphone) as your tool for getting outside and being active.
Sometimes you just need a little push to enjoy the outdoors. Hiking is wonderful because you can get a lot of exercise while enjoying nature. The Wandermap app for iOS and Android helps you find hiking trails nearby, wherever you are. You can record the hikes you’ve taken or search for new routes anywhere in the world. It’ll also show you your location on the trail, so if you’re afraid of getting lost, don’t be. The routes exist in the app offline, so you’ll never be without a good hike.
This game is one of the coolest apps you can download for Android or iOS. Ingress uses the real world as its playing field; you choose one of two sides, then you track down a mysterious energy source by physically moving through your surroundings. You end up walking around without focusing on the exercise. You interact with other people playing all around the world, and can form alliances or track others’ progress. New clues and codes come into the game daily, so it never gets boring. It’s free to download, and offers in-app purchases.
America’s National Parks
The United States has 58 national parks. Have you been to even one of them? The America’s National Parks app will give you directions to each national park, tips on when to go, and advice on what to do when you get there. The app is full of information about each national park, like hiking trails, maps, and other activities. You can customize each park map based on your visit to the park. Save your activities for future reference, or to share with friends. The app is free to download for Android users.
Whether you’re new to a city or simply want to discover more information about where you live, you should download Field Trip for Android or iOS. While you walk around town, Field Trip gives you tons of information about your surroundings, from history to food recommendations to fun times for the evening. Note that it does run in the background, so if you’ve got an older phone it’ll drain your battery. Something like the powerful HTC One M9 should cut it just fine, with its 20-hour talk time and 13.6-day standby time. Now get outside and start walking through your neighborhood to see what Field Trip discovers for you!
You don’t have to attend an intimidating yoga class to start benefiting from yoga. The Daily Yoga app coaches you through new yoga poses and routines, whether you’re a beginner or a budding yogi. You can take classes, watch instructional videos, and set your intentions for the workout, whether it be relieving stress or burning fat. The app lets you decide how long you want to stretch, and whether you want a casual workout or an intense session. This free app works on iOS and Android.
This clever Android app wants you to go outside. Daylight does everything it can to get you to leave the house: it tells you when the day is particularly nice, prompts you to do fitness activities, and even lets you know when your friends are nearby. It’ll tell you what percentage of your Facebook friends are outside and how many app users are outside at any given moment. Hearing that 15,000 people are enjoying the day while you’re on the couch is a powerful motivator. You tell the app what kind of notifications you want and what your goals are for getting outside, and it’ll adapt to your preferences.
Honestly, who wouldn’t rather hike a trail or discover new things about their neighborhood than go to the gym? These apps will have you on your feet or in a yoga pose, but without the annoying “working out” aspect of fitness.