Here are the best fitness apps for the time-scarce individual to try out this summer – tried & tested by the Work It team!
This day and age we cannot leave the house without our iPhone, and if we do, we end up running back franticly as we wouldn’t be able to cope without. I am the same; however, I don’t think it is a good thing by any means. We are being distracted from what really matters and constantly engaged with work, social media and the news. Which takes us away from being healthy, spending time with our family and having low stress levels- it’s a fact!
However, if we are going to be continuously connected with our devices, we should try and use it to our advantage. In this instance, I am going to give you my top 5 apps to get you as fit, healthy and in shape for the summer, particularly if you are a time scarce individual.
F. Lux and night shift on iPhone
F. Lux is an app for your computer and night shift is on the new update for your iPhone. They are both programs that filter blue light. Phone-light is fine throughout the day, but if you find yourself checking your emails before bed or looking on Instagram, you are reducing your chances of some quality shut eye.
Melatonin is the sleep hormone, which is released before and during sleep to ensure you get as much deep sleep as possible. When the hormone cortisol is present (the stress hormone) it supresses melatonin thus having a direct effect on your sleep. Blue light isn’t the main cause of increased cortisol, but you want to minimise the release of this hormone prior to bed as much as you can.
There are many important processes that take place whilst you sleep to optimise health. But in terms of getting in shape for your holiday, lack of sleep can potentially increase hunger. Sleep has been shown to lower leptin (an appetite suppressing hormone) and increase in grehlin (a hormone that stimulates hunger). Ditch any electrical devices by 8:30 or 9 and get your head down by 10pm!
I’d say 90% of people don’t drink enough water. The human body is largely made of water and although we can go up to 50 days without food, we would only survive a few days without water. Even mild dehydration can effect your mood, energy levels, ability to think clearly and communicate, as well as having a impact on exercise performance.
Having a water log can be a great way to ensure you stay adequately hydrated, particularly as the days begin to heat up. So we can make sure we are getting the most out of our training sessions, and of course at work! A good equation for water requirements is your bodyweight in KG divided by 0.024. For any hour of intensive exercise, you will need an additional 750-1500ml of water. Start your day with a glass of water (add a bit of fresh lemon juice for variety) and make sure you always have a bottle to hand.
Body composition as a whole, comes down to calories and macronutrient intake. But in order to remain as healthy as possible and perform at you best, you have to consider vitamins and minerals in the foods you are consuming.
MyFitnessPal is great at tracking macronutrients and calories but to optimise health, you must pay attention to your micronutrients.
Cronometer is a food tracker that allows you to log your protein, carbohydrates and fats but also pays attention to your vitamin and mineral intake. Get the summer body you desire and optimise your health at the same time!
Having an interval timer on your phone means you can be as efficient as possible with your workouts. Get to your local park at lunch and do a 20-minute HIIT session. You can decide how hard you want to push yourself and set you intervals to 15/20 or even 40 seconds. You can also give yourself as much or as little rest to keep your heart rate elevated and ensure you work up a sweat.
Doing a short HIIT workout can help burn an increased amount of calories in a shorter space of time and can lead to your body burning fat for a longer period of time once the session is finished. Getting the body moving throughout the day is critical for maintaining stress levels, releasing endorphins and will help concentration levels and cognitive function during the rest of your working day.
Headspace is a guided meditation app, which gives you 10 minutes of personal silence. The list of benefits to regular mediation is endless and is therefore a must for anyone serious about improving their health and wellness.
Some of the physical benefits include:
- Decrease in tension related pain
- Lowering high blood pressure
- Increase in serotonin production that improves mood and behaviour
- Improves the immune system
- Increased energy levels
Some of the mental benefits:
- Anxiety relief
- Emotional stability improvement
- Creativity increases
- Happiness increases
- Intuition develops
- Gain clarity and peace of mind
- Problems become smaller
- Mediation sharpens the mind
With a list of benefits this long- why would you not meditate? It will only take 5- 10 minutes out of your day and could have a massive impact on the rest of your life.
Written by Charlie Watts.