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Start the New Year Right with these Fitness Apps

Let’s face it. Even before COVID ravaged our world and forced us to pig out on comfort foods, losing weight consistently appeared at the top of New Year’s resolution lists. In 2020, more than 50 percent of Americans vowed to exercise more. Eating healthy and losing weight followed suit at 43 percent and 37 percent, respectively.

Considering what we’ve all been through, we may need a little help with these goals in 2021. From running to cycling to hiking and yoga, these apps will help you find a fitness routine that works for you whether you want to lose weight or just get moving toward a healthier lifestyle.

Want to work out with your favorite trainers, social media influencers or athletes? Playbook makes it happen. This mobile marketplace features popular trainers, social medial influencers and athletes who share their real-time workouts. Each fitness expert has their own channel, allowing them to publish workout programs directly to you in real-time. It’s the next best thing to having your own personal trainer. (Playbook offers three auto-renewing subscription options: $14.99 monthly; $39.99 quarterly and $99.99 annually. Available for IOS and Android.)

If losing weight tops your list of must dos, Noom may be the answer. Claiming to be “the last weight-loss program you’ll ever need,” Noom gives you a trainer, nutritionist and health coach in app form. Different than other weight loss apps, Noom focuses on behavioral changes showing you how to make better balanced choices. Accessing your smartphone’s Health app, Noom automatically logs your exercise while you enter what you eat. The app then tracks your weight loss and creates a graph of your progress. Just think how much better you’ll look on Zoom after using Noom! (There is a free version, but the paid version provides more detailed assistance. Subscriptions run about $59 monthly with discounts for multiple-month packages. Available for IOS and Android.)

Whether or not you’re ready to invest in a Peloton bike or treadmill, you can benefit from the company’s talented instructors through the Peloton app. Choose from thousands of live and on-demand classes to meet your personal fitness goals. Workouts include strength training, indoor and outdoor running, cycling, yoga, walking, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and meditation. In addition to selecting your favorite instructors and workouts, you can choose your favorite musical styles. Go ahead and head bang your way through that ‘80s rock workout! (A free 30-day trial is available. Afterward, subscribe to a digital membership for $12.99/month. Available for IOS and Android.)

If you prefer to take your fitness pursuits outside, AllTrails lends a hand. Wherever you venture, you’ll be able to find the perfect hike, bide ride or trail run for you. Each trail description provides details on length, rating and difficulty level. Use filters to hone your search for what you need such as dog- or kid-friendly trails. Or search for stellar views and waterfalls. With a built-in GPS tracker, the map continues to help you stay on the trail even without cell reception. Record your pace, distance, elevation, and max speed, and share your adventures with friends and family. (Standard AllTrails app is free. A subscription version for $29.99/year adds the ability to download and print maps. Available for IOS and Android.)

When it comes to calorie counting, MyFitnessPal ranks among the best apps on the market. Its mobile app and website connect you to the largest database of foods, making it easy to look up what you eat and record it. At day’s end, MyFitnessPal provides feedback that you can use in your weight loss endeavors. A free account allows you to track food and calories, activity, weight and a few other metrics. You’ll also get cool suggestions such as proper stretching. The premium version takes away the ads, allows for app customization and includes macronutrient and other nutritional information. (Premium costs $9.99/month or $49.99/year. Available for IOS and Android.)

While diet and exercise are typically the focus of fitness routines, taking time for mental health is equally important—especially now. Meditation provides an avenue for relaxation, which helps promote mindfulness in daily activities. A popular meditation app, Headspace focuses on novice meditators and those new to mindfulness, including children. Appropriate for a universal audience, the app features a session timer, progress tracking, program training and an app community. High-quality short video infographics complement the guided meditation tracks. Headspace provides personalized coaching in training the mind to support a daily meditation practice using breathing exercises, visualization and sitting meditation. A free, 10-day trial converts to a yearly subscription of $69.99. However, Headspace is now free for people who are unemployed in the U.S. through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Available for IOS and Android.)

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