How Mobile Apps Can Motivate Fitness

iphone apps for runners

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Mobile apps have become an integral part of most folk’s workout routine. While running was once solitary activity, with only the noise of the wind in your ears to occupy you, it’s hard to imagine taking a run today without my iPhone. Whether listening to a podcast, motivating myself with jock jams or tracking my workout, my iPhone has become as necessary to my workout as shorts and running shoes.

App developers have driven this trend hard. There’s an incredible variety of fitness apps available on the App Store, which integrate with your workout in a variety of ways. Whether it’s an app to track your workout, guide you through a new routine or prompt you to get a quick stretch, apps are central to the modern workout routine. That’s not even considering smart watches, fitness trackers and heart rate monitors.

When you gear up for your workout, make sure you prepare properly. While you can get a basic workout done in sweatpants and old sneakers, you’ll probably feel more comfortable (and maybe even get better results) with specialized workout wear. Start with proper footwear and consider compression and functional fitness wear to compensate for any existing injuries or to offset potential weaknesses in your core or joints. You can find shoulder support shirts, knee braces, and more on the store page of leading compression wear provider Tommy Copper.

Reminders and prompts

Sometimes, getting in a quick workout just requires a little push. Apps in this category offer scheduling tools that help you keep on top of your training schedule, reminding you to get the right workout in. Some gyms and clubs offer their own app to help you remember to work out, even letting you check in at the front desk with the app.

Some devices also offer built-in health prompts that encourage you to get up and move around. The Apple Watch, for example, tracks your daily activity to encourage users to meet certain goals, reminding you to get your steps, standing time or other activities in to complete your rings. That kind of mild nudge can be useful in making fitness a bigger part of your life.


Apps can help you learn a new workout, offer some inspiration, and even guide you in gradually increasing intensity. Look for one that matches your needs and interests. High-intensity interval training, bodyweight routines, trail runs or spinning, and even yoga all have popular learning or guided routine apps. Sworkit can help you build a simple HIIT bodyweight workout, and Fitness Buddy will teach you new routines.

Community and competition

Social pressure can be enormously powerful. Some apps use social promises to encourage users to meet workout goals, while others create a community of folks to help build a positive community environment. Your gym or club may have a members-only community to encourage and urge one another onward. Strava offers a large community with active challenges, and WellSquad can help you find a workout partner.


Tracking your workout is probably one of the most common exercise functions. Apps like MapMyRun and Runtastic help users keep track of their mileage, and there’s similar companion apps for other activities. When paired with other accessories like heart rate monitors, you can get awesome insight in to your workouts, providing key information how to improve your weaknesses. Such tracking takes the guesswork out of tracking distance, speed and routes. And seeing all your workouts pile up over time can be a major motivator.


Gamification has proved to be a useful strategy for improving user engagement in a variety of areas: it’s no surprise that fitness apps should use gamification techniques to make workouts more engaging. By using the techniques that mobile app developers have perfected to get users to dish out money for in-app purchases, apps can get users similarly addicted to workouts. Providing goals, progress and challenges are a core element to a variety of fitness apps, from workout trackers to scheduling apps. Check out Zombies, Run! for a fun, narrative take on this style, and apps like Charity Miles earn money for charities while you run.

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