The worst part of fitness is that it can sometimes be repetitive. Being stuck inside on a treadmill or an exercise bike can be more tiring than getting outside and enjoying the fresh air — so with that in mind, we've put together a short list of five of our favourite Android apps that mix the real world with your smartphone's GPS tracking and built-in fitness tracking features to give you an immersive, interesting workout that you can repeat day after day.
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If you've just been using a normal, boring run-tracking or step-monitoring app for all this time, you've really been missing out. Zombies, Run! takes the exercise you're already doing — or that you want to start doing — and lays it on top of a post-apocalyptic landscape filled with zombies, with audio cues and an actual storyline and seasons worth of content to follow. We all know how important having a goal is when you exercise, and Zombies, Run! gives you one — staying alive.
There's a standalone couch-to-5K app for $2.99, but if you want a more diverse range of missions and ongoing content you'll pay $US2.99 per month.
The most important part of fitness is actually getting outside and doing stuff, and that's exactly what geocaching is about. Geocaching — there are loads of apps for it, but this is the official one from the guys at Geocaching.com — gives you a real-life goal to travel to and discover, but unlike Ingress and Zombies, Run! this one has a real-world component that you can touch and feel. Thousands of geocaching nodes around the world contain tiny little prizes or trinkets for you to find and enjoy.
The Geocaching app is free, but there's also a premium Member's Only subscription that lets you access a wider range of caches.
Sweat With Kayla
Sweat with Kayla is a fitness app built just for women, and it's centred around a wide range of 28 minute workouts that require little or no equipment — which means all you need is your phone, some gym clothes and a bit of free time in your day. As well as the training itself and weekly coaching guides, the Sweat with Kayla app also has food guides — everything from menus to recipes to shopping lists, for every diet between omnivore and vegan — and regular challenges where you can compete against friends.
There's a seven-day free trial, but if you decide you like it and want to subscribe, the app is $US19.99 per month (billed monthly).
Ingress is strictly a game, but you can use it in exactly the same way as you might use Zombies! Run to improve your fitness. Ingress is built around the real world, but places augmented reality portals around popular landmarks and lets two teams — the Enlightened and the Resistance — fight over their control. If you want to use it to get more fit, just take responsibility for a few portals — whether they're around your home or your work — and travel between them regularly.
Initially backed by Google, and now developed by the same team that's working on the similar Pokemon Go, Ingress is entirely free and has a solid Australian user-base.
If you're a competitive person, then you should channel that competitive nature into your fitness routine — and Strava is the most competitive fitness app out there. Built for runners and cyclists, it has a massive community centred around statistics — how fast you completed that segment, how much you've improved over time, who the fastest and most consistent is across your friends group. If you like numbers, you'll really like Strava.
Strava is essentially free if you just want to try it out, but Premium gives you live feedback and more data analysis costs you $US6 per month.
Bonus: Fit For Battle
In the same vein as Zombies, Run!, Fit For Battle is a goals- and challenges-based fitness app set in a fantasy world — battle with orcs and flee from dragons as you walk or run or cycle around the built-up world. It's on track to be released soon on Android if all goes to plan, and is another one of those fitness apps that basically distracts you from the difficult, puffed-out, painful part of running by enthralling you in a rich audio-heavy adventure with a few different fantasy storylines.
Fit For Battle is only in a limited beta release, but we've been hearing good things. It should be out for Android soon, and we can't wait.