The cell phone is an amazing little gadget – one that has become an integral part of our lives. There is nearly no obstacle that we encounter in our day-to-day living that can’t be solved by a quick Google search or a few clicks of an app. It is our cure for boredom, our link to our social circles, and our random photo op accomplice. Yes, the evolution of cell phones in the last ten years has done many things for us – among making us a lazy, technology-dependent society.
It’s not that all this convenience at our fingertips is a bad thing, but it definitely doesn’t enforce an active lifestyle. So for those of us who enjoy challenging not only our bodies but also our minds, here are a few ways to use that cell phone to defy those apathetic tendencies and really promote health and fitness.
Stop with the games, and download fitness apps.
This one should be a no-brainer. One search of the word “fitness” in your app store will yield over 5,000 results! Everything from calorie trackers to workout programs to weight loss tips is available for free or minimal cost.
Download what applies to you. Are you a runner? Get a GPS or pedometer to track your distance; this works even for walking through the mall or strolling through the park, because at the end of the day, who doesn’t like seeing that they walked a total of 5 miles and burned an extra 400 calories without going to the gym? FitBit (which has partnered with SparkPeople) is a great tool and even better when you link it with the RunKeeper app.
Do you have a daily workout regimen? Websites such as WeightTraining.com not only allow you to log your workouts, but also plunge you into an entire fitness community by allowing you to compete with and encourage fellow members, view exercise breakdowns, and even ask questions to real trainers. Even if you’re unsure what type of workout you want to follow, the WeightTraining.com app has over 200 certified personal trainer workout plans.
Watching what you eat? Diet trackers, calorie counters, and food logs are helpful and easy to use – not to mention will give excellent tips on healthy food alternatives and other educational nutrition facts. The various SparkPeople apps are great for this type of tracking.
Plug in your ear buds and enrich your mind while exercising.
Everyone needs a little motivation while working out, so why not download some music to help boost your energy level while lifting weights or running? Listen to your favorite Pandora station to pass the time, or customize your own playlist of songs you know will motivate you (just in case, God forbid, Bruno Mars starts singing “The Lazy Song” on Pandora mid-workout -- a tragedy I don’t wish upon my worst enemy).
Not a fan of music? Download an audiobook to listen to while running for distance or spending time on the treadmill. Your time will be up before you know it, and guess what? You’ll be looking forward to your next run to find out what happens to our brave hero!
Set a motivational background picture.
Who hasn't cut out pictures of supermodels or athletes and stuck them on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror for motivation? While this is fine for refraining from fridge raiding, what do you look at even more often than the mirror? Your phone. Find an inspirational picture from Google images and set it as your background photo; I guarantee you’ll see that more throughout the day then the wilting cut-out on the fridge or the water-stained clipping in the bathroom. Besides, you can whip your phone out while grocery shopping and hesitating in the baking aisle, or at a restaurant when staring down a server tempting you with a hot fudge cake.
Use your alarm to set daily reminders.
Even if you don’t have a smartphone, everyone has an alarm clock on their cell. Set an alarm to remind yourself to take your vitamins. Arrange a few different alarms to prompt you to drink your eight glasses of water a day. And of course – set one for the time that you want to exercise! Nothing gets you off your butt faster than a consistently whining cell phone!
Watch videos on how to properly execute difficult movements.
Not all of us can afford a personal trainer to teach us how to effectively lift weights or learn to handle a kettlebell. We might not even have the guts to ask the fella next to us at the gym how a certain machine works. That’s when YouTube is a great source for learning proper form. It is never wise to attempt something that could potentially leave your injured, so make sure you watch a few different reputable how-to videos before trying something new. Both apps and YouTube fitness channels offer step-by-step workout videos that you can carry with you in the palm of your hand.
The possibilities are endless! Just a little creativity could conjure up whole new ways to make your cell double as your workout partner. Because while the advancement of cell phones has come a long way in the last decade, one thing it can’t do is work out for us…and let’s be honest – regardless of what the future holds in the ever-developing world of technology, no app is going to be able to take on that responsibility. But they might just make it a little easier to get started.
How do you use your cell phone as a weight-loss or fitness buddy? What's your favorite fitness, diet or healthy living app?
About the Author
Traci Finlay is the marketing and community coordinator of WeightTraining.com.
Besides sharing a close bond with the WeightTraining.com family, she is also a writer, runner, and competitive CrossFitter.
With a bachelor degree in Communication Arts and a minor in English, she combines her passions for writing and fitness by (insert dramatic pause) writing about fitness.