Fitness Apps for Health, Productivity and ‘Appiness’:
Someone out there decided we all needed to take 10,000 steps a day. So in the interest of increasing productivity, general health, and well-being, this Productivity Ninja started counting her steps.
I had no idea whether I’d get even close to the amount, but I’m fairly active, and with an office on the second floor, I do a lot up running up and down the stairs. So after a week of being monitored by a phone app, I was dismayed that if I did nothing but sit at my desk, with “indoor walking breaks”, stair climbing and chores in the evening, I only reached 3,500 steps. If I purposely included a walk for an hour, I could get to 6,000. But 10,000 was a stretch. Public transit helped, so did a major hike—but it wasn’t so easy.
I soon found myself unnaturally connected to my phone, feeling like a failure, and to be honest, a bit obsessed. (When you start to think at 10 PM, I’ll just walk around the garden in circles so I can reach 10,000 steps, you really do need to re-think the overall goal of the exercise).
The perils of counting steps instead of productivity
In the end, the experience proved to me that it’s pretty easy not to move if you don’t have to. I also found out that it’s not productive to get hung up on the number. The origins of 10,000 steps started with a pedometer sold in Japan with a name that translated to “10,000 steps”. Although no one’s going to argue against the idea — this is not a scientific recommendation. I can relax and stop beating myself up.
This is where a Productivity Ninja applauds. You are human, after all. Don’t let an app (that is not human, even though it has a voice) give you one more reason to feel inadequate. Any effort that gets the oxygen circulating to your brain where it helps you think more clearly and creatively is guaranteed to make you happier, healthier and productive (more applause).
If you’re looking for guidelines, CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, (including brisk walking). So my average day with one walk was pretty good after all! And FYI, to meet the CDC’s recommendation, you need to walk about 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day.
Exercise apps that help you work out through the day
Productivity Ninjas recommend that you schedule time to walk, run, jump up and down, or strengthen your muscles—that is, do some kind of exercise. Aim for 3 gym sessions a week, or a daily walk (1 hr. is great), or exercise breaks during the day, perhaps delivered though a friendly app. Choose from a wide variety of apps that meet any exercise might enjoy:
- Yoga is great for getting oxygen flowing. Yogaglo (a favorite of our Calgary Ninja) delivers exercises wherever you are. Cute yoga outfit optional.
- Daily Yoga lets you pick your goal, and then the program, (e.g. morning stretch, better sleep, firmer abs, etc.)
- Run Keeper (an ABC news app of the week) lets you tune into audio updates while you run – and we hear it has a cheerful voice.
- If you promise not to get addicted to the step idea, try Pacer, a straightforward approach to increasing your activity with no judgment.
- A friend of mine loves Map My Walk, which displays steps, calories, distance and duration on the dashboard along with a map of where you’ve been (also handy it you’ve dropped something along the way) “It just does what it needs to do”, says Carissa.
- FIT Radio, named by PC magazine for the top 25 fitness apps for 2016, streams music to match your workout.
- Seven-Minute Workout is exactly as it says. All you need is seven minutes. Hey, that’s not even what I spend looking for my glasses every day
So figure out what exercise you want to do, not what you think you should do. And pick an app to match that makes you happy — not one that torments you.
By Beth Parker
Beth Parker is a Canadian author and ghostwriter engaged in a continual struggle to balance the needs of her business with the welcomed chaos of five children, a husband and various pets. She has a BA (English), University of Toronto, and an MA (Journalism). In her fictional spare time, she paints pictures.