Running is a favoured exercise by many due to numerous benefits. Aside from improving heart health and sending floods of feel-good stress-relieving hormones coursing through the body, running also increases bone mass, reducing the risk of degenerative bone diseases later in life.
Running is a strenuous form of movement, and it burns a significant number of calories, helping the body maintain a healthy body weight. It also supports the body in developing strong muscles and core stability. This improves the body’s resting metabolic function, which means the body naturally burns more calories even after the exercise is over.
The value of digital tools and wearables
Keeping track of progress and measuring results can be challenging for a regular runner. Finding ways to optimise that time spent running is another valuable effort to improve outcomes.
Digital tools and products can help in several ways. There are digital apps. Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch. Smart insoles and chest wearables that keep track of important biometrics like current heart rate (helping the runner stay in a target zone), calories burned, and monitor running form to prevent injuries and improve overall running performance. Here are six apps that can improve runners productivity.
Aaptiv offers its users a platform to access guided workouts based on unique goals, including flexibility, fitness, strength and many more. For a runner, this app offers variety and the opportunity to increase fitness levels. With thousands of workout programs to choose from, even the most dedicated runner will find exercises to improve their performance. Aaptiv proudly offers users a vast library of video and audio fitness workouts that include so much more than just running: yoga, indoor cycling, strength training, and more.
Runners who want variety in their exercise routine. Ideal for those that would typically use the treadmill at the gym, this app can make it easier to transition to road running. Especially, while the gyms are closed during Covid-19 by giving a sense of continuity with programmed workouts and custom music.
Strava is Swedish for “strive.” The name instantly clarifies this app’s goal: to help its users take bigger strides forwards in their fitness goals. Unlike its competitors, Strava is more focused on improving performance. Being this specialised means it hones in on the unique needs of athletes who want to develop their capabilities in running and cycling further. Strava offers advanced tracking and data analytic capabilities, enabling an athlete to convert their smartphone (and other smart devices) into tools designed to improve their fitness scores.
The athlete that wants features that are designed for runners and cyclists. For serious athletes that may or may not have a smartwatch, this app is ideal for goal-setting, tracking, and analysing performance both session-by-session and over the long term.
3. Charity Miles
Aimed at those who want to improve their fitness levels while helping others by donating to charitable organisations, Charity Miles fulfils both goals simultaneously. For the hobby runner that wants to track their analytics and progress, Charity Miles is perfect. The app is best for groups of people and works well as part of a corporate wellness plan. In the words of the manufacturer “for every mile you move, you help earn money for your charity from our corporate sponsorship pool.”
Someone naturally inclined towards humanitarian efforts will love this app. It allows runners to improve their health, measure their metrics, and for each milestone, ensures that a monetary contribution goes to a charity of choice.
Progress is motivation, and providing this is what the app aspires to do. The app is tailored for runners. The platform is designed by one of the most popular brands that create a variety of running gear: Asics. This platform places great emphasis on goal setting and action-planning. A key part of this offering is its ability to unite runners worldwide as they share their experiences and milestones.
This platform is specifically for runners. This app is for runners who want to improve their performance while taking accountability for their progress.
Zwift offers a different but entertaining twist to a regular running or cycling routine: it combines real-life workouts with a gaming concept. For those that enjoy a bit of fantasy to help them stay motivated, the Zwift app might be perfect. With professional coaches available at the touch of a button, runners can tailor their goals and enjoy custom workouts that remove the training schedule’s guesswork. Users can choose from training plans, group rides, and races to improve their strength and fitness metrics.
Designed for those who want to turn indoor training into an interactive game for both runners and cyclists with an online community. There are defined programmes of exercise, or if users wish to train at their own pace, they can select from a variety of locations around the world and follow the road or trail digitally.
6. NHS couch to 5K
This app is straightforward to use, making it great for runners and aspiring athletes of all ages. It has milestones and mini-milestones, breaking larger goals down into chunks to keep the user motivated and focused.
Anyone with an iPhone can safely improve their fitness levels, increase their running output and measure their exercise analytics with this app. The concept around the app, couch to 5k, was developed to inspire people to start living an active lifestyle by taking measured but realistic steps towards a fitter lifestyle.
How digital tools and apps empower active lifestyles
“As a keen runner, I have always been interested in improving my performance. I recall buying my first Garmin watch over a decade ago – It was great, but I was endlessly waving my hand around in the sky trying to connect to the GPS before each run. Waiting for the black and white LCD screen to tell me I was ‘good to go’. You would then come home and upload your run data to the computer via USB.
Garmin, and of course many wearables have made huge leaps since then. Combined with the power of the smartphone, apps are changing the way we exercise and train. Helping us meet new goals, train more effectively, compete with each other, and now some like Zwift are bringing gamification into the field.
One of the great health benefits of digital tools is empowering new people into being more active, Couch to 5K has been reviewed over 245K times, a testament to how the 9-week program supports people to build active lifestyle habits. Those that many people find rewarding physically and mentally, while supporting long-lasting preventative health.”
– Dr Vinay Shankar
Image: Strava and Zwift