There is no shortage of options in this day and age when it comes to fitness, from fully equipped gyms, specialized fitness studios, weekend wellness retreats to online personal training sessions. As our everyday lives are getting busier and busier, there are so many fitness options at our fingertips. One of the newest and most innovative tools available to use is fitness apps.
They are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for people who work on tight schedules with little flexibility. But as appealing as they might seem, there is one question that we all wonder: How useful are workout apps actually? To answer this question, this article is a guide to workout apps and how they can benefit us in reaching our fitness goals.
The Case For Workout Apps
In the last decade, the fitness tech market has experienced an explosion of wild new products, from smart wearable devices to apps designed for all sorts of exercise. While some people give glowing feedback about them, others think they are just gimmicks; but do they actually work? Well, there is extensive research that confirms that they do.
A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research stated that fitness apps promote positive behavioral changes in terms of health decisions. The survey was conducted with 726 participants, and the result suggested that 75% of participants who use health apps reported being more active. It also points out that these apps make it easier for people who struggle with finding the energy to exercise (such as procrastination, lack of motivation, etc.). Just by having an app on their phone, people are more conscious of the need to get active and will drag themselves out of their lethargy.
Personalized Fitness Apps
Technology can be very useful in the workout process. In the same way, technology has transformed every other part of our lives. Personalized fitness apps like MMA Spartan System have enabled people to self-monitor themselves, and you can check it out to see how it could make a difference to you. Apps like these allow you to make your training and nutrition plan and show you how to perform highly effective exercises.
There is further research which shows that fitness apps work, particularly when the app is personalized to the user. People are motivated to work out more consistently if their app features training goals, personalized diet, or sessions with “live trainers.” To look more into this, assistant professor Mary Jum at UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences has conducted research to compare the difference in fitness levels of participants who use apps with custom features with those who don’t. It came as no surprise that the group who did not use the improved version of the app showed no changes in their daily routine, while those who did exercise a lot more.
The Case Against Fitness Apps
Although many people give credit to fitness apps, there are some studies that don’t. David Conroy, Professor of Kinesiology at Penn State University, found that users usually select apps based on the developer’s description, which is problematic. His research also concludes that the current apps on the market have not incorporated many behavioral changing techniques to date, which leave opportunities to improve performance according to behavioral science. The study concluded that these apps are potentially helpful, but because they are made by amateur fitness people and are sold unregulated, their actual effectiveness is inconclusive.
So Who Do We Believe?
So at the end of the say, who should, we believe? Should we delete that fitness app and just go running the old fashion way and write your calories down a notepad instead of an app, or should we embrace the revolution in the fitness tech industry? As the evidence points in two different directions, it’s important to know yourself and take control of your workout routine. That leaves us with the ultimate question:
Do the apps you are currently using help you to get out there and stay active?
If the answer is yes, then absolutely keep your current fitness app, or explore new ones. If you feel like the app on your phone is somehow making you work less hard in the gym, then it might be time to reconsider if you should go back to the old fashion way or switch to a new app.
As new as the fitness tech industry is, it’s still too early to tell if workout apps work or not. However, it’s important to remember that everybody’s physical condition is different, and there is no absolute right or wrong way. If a mobile app helps you stay motivated to be active and throw weights around in the gym, then that’s what is right for you.