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Five Great Fitness Apps for Smartphones

Though many people still haven’t noticed, smartphones have been quietly revolutionizing the way people stay in shape and exercise. The wireless capabilities of these phones allows them to track all sorts of information relevant to your diet and exercise routines, and there are many apps that can help you reduce the tedious work involved in tracking how far you ran this week, or how many calories you ate at lunch yesterday.

Here are five cool apps that any fitness enthusiast ought to have on their phone:

MyFitnessPal

This handy app has calorie information about any food you could ever possibly eat.

Seriously.

Whatever the food is, if you’re willing to eat it, MyFitnessPal.com has the relevant information about its caloric content, fat, sodium, carbs, protein, and so forth. And when you have this app, you can quickly key in what you ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and for snacks in between.

Simply put in the quantity or volume, and this app will calculate how many calories you consumed, and keep a running total of how much you’ve had all day long. Counting calories has never been easier.

And if you are exercising, you can input the exercise you did and the duration, and the app will subtract the calories you burnt from your total. With this on your phone, you’ll go to bed each day knowing whether you met your calorie goal. No more wondering or “estimating” how many calories were in that Cinnabon. MyFitnessPal.com takes the mystery and math out of counting calories.

MapMyRun

If you run, walk, bike, rollerblade, or do any other sort of exercise that involves moving more than a few feet, you may wonder about the total distance you covered. Well, MapMyRun has that covered.

This app uses your phone’s GPS capabilities to track you as you go, and then maps your route and computes the total distance you covered. It works with precision whether you’re running on major roads, your community’s greenway, or on a little trail through the woods. With this app, you can find out exactly how far you went, and how long it took you. It even tracks elevation change, so hill runners and others working on rocky terrain will know just how hard they were working.

As with MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun is a high-tech solution that takes the guesswork out of an old-fashioned component of good fitness.

RunKeeper

Much like MapMyRun, RunKeeper tracks the route you run (or walk, or bike) and provides feedback on how hard you are working yourself. Unlike MapMyRun, RunKeeper is less about mapping the route, and more about measuring vital statistics relevant to your running and your body’s conditioning.

RunKeeper can by synched up with a heart rate monitor to tell you how fast your heart is beating and how hard you are working compared to your maximum heart rate. It will also use your heart rate to compute the number of calories you’ve burned, and how fast you’re burning them. It can show your distance traveled, current land speed, and average time per mile.

For those who love statistics on their exercise, this app will be a hit.

Stopwatch and Interval Timer

These two come standard on most phones, although you can download apps that have fancier versions of both. Just like old-fashioned stopwatches and interval timers, these track the total time of your exercise session, and can divided it up into “splits” if you want to know how fast you’re running each mile, half-mile, or whatever segment you choose. These apps are simple but spare you the trouble of carrying around a stopwatch, which is a definite plus.

Athlink.com

While technically not an app, this website is too good not to include on the list. This website is a great place to track your results from every race you participate in.  These guys track your placement in the race, overall and by age group, as well as your pace for each race and what your PR (Personal Record) is for each distance.

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