Overall wellness is what most of us are striving for. To be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy is the aim. Luckily, the most up-to-date health, fitness, and nutrition guidelines can provide extensive behavior modification strategies to help people abandon negative habits and form positive ones instead. At this point, however, a problem arises, since a health/fitness environment we live in is rather “toxic.” It seems so demanding that we all can feel stressed experiencing this pressure. People certainly need help and therefore mobile development industry is eager to lend us a helping hand.
Main features of fitness applications
Owing to the generally increasing demand for mobile health (mHealth) apps and growing interest in tracking and monitoring fitness through smartphones, the global mHealth market size is also expected to grow. Valued at USD 4.19 billion in 2016, it will supposedly reach USD 111.8 billion by 2025. However, many people who have once made up their mind to engage in fitness behaviors quit an app later on. 35.1% of those who do so abandon the app together with abandoning their health goal. In about a quarter of cases, applications lack desired features (e.g., tracking, notifications.) These two most commonly reported reasons raise a question of motivation in achieving goals and make app developers think thoroughly about what features people expect to get increasing user lifetime value.
Types of fitness apps
In general, promoting healthy behaviors, fitness apps are divided into three main groups: workout, activity tracking and diet apps.
1. Workout apps
Another overpriced gym, an inconvenient location or work hours, lack of time, whatever the reason, all this makes us explore different options willing to exercise regularly and maybe even have some fun. An app that focuses on workout is a realistic and effective solution to a problem.
Primarily, these apps substitute your personal trainer. Most of them offer huge free libraries of exercises. Besides, users can get access to workout plans customized to their fitness level and goals for a fixed price. Some apps have them repeat the same exercises time and again while the others are gradually making the workouts harder either automatically or relying on your personal rating. Not surprisingly, the workouts with the app can be easier than with a real trainer if you underestimate your abilities or do not want to push yourself to try more difficult workouts. Convenience and price, however, are worth much. Motivated or not, you get to choose.
2. Fitness activity tracking apps
If you want to have your daily activities tracked, these apps will help you with that. To receive more accurate data about the steps taken, heartbeat, calories burnt, sleep hours, sleep quality, and other physiological parameters, you can pair your smartwatch with your phone. In fact, such mobile applications are often developed by brands that sell activity trackers. Thus, users will have all information about their fitness activity transferred to their smartphone wirelessly via Bluetooth.
3. Nutrition and diet apps
Encouraging healthy habits, counting calories consumed and burnt, and controlling water intake, nutrition and diet apps introduce you to one more handy way to track your activity. As a rule, the key thing most users expect to have in such apps is visualization. Taking advantage of daily comprehensive stats, they can monitor their progress in achieving personal goals. Keeping in mind that these applications are made to help people learn good eating habits without becoming obsessive, thus, will boost the chances for conscious creating the desired body and health.
To put it simply, wellness focuses four basic elements, namely regular exercise, getting good sleep, eating right, and practicing mindfulness. Since wellness is much more than a state of physical health, mental health apps should not be neglected. Such applications target mental health improvement through meditation, hypnosis, or cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as reduction of users’ depression or anxiety providing a valuable support network and tracking their mood and mental symptoms.
Main features of fitness applications
- Creating an account
As a rule, people expect fitness apps to deliver personalized experiences. Thus, a personal account is a must. It will let users track their progress, change subscription information, and store billing information. Besides, integrating social login can enhance an application, since it will be much easier for users to create accounts.
- Push notifications
Notifications can not only remind users about workouts but also motivate them. However, they should not be annoying. Instead, as gentle reminders, they need to adjust to people’s wants.
Social support is a key factor influencing adherence to health and fitness behavior change. This focusing on the effort rather than progress protects users from discouragement in case they fail to achieve their goal. For instance, completing daily challenges created by an expert together with other users and posting the updates entails learning from each other through observation and creating a common experience for emotional support.
- Geolocation integration
Benefiting from location-aware fitness apps, users get access to real-time data, navigation and map view. Nutrition and diet apps may recommend spots to eat and shops or farmer’s markets depending on users’ preferences; while all fitness activity tracking apps repose on this feature. Besides, apps that encourage socialization can inform users of events happening around them.
- Wearables data integration
This feature is closely related to geo integration. Such devices as fitness trackers, smart watches, and wristbands are constantly developed providing the increase in accuracy of the collected data. Thus, users can view data related to physical activities and health right on their smartphones. For instance, Android wearable devices can either run the full Android OS or use APIs (e.g. Wear SDK and Glass GDK) to access their features.
Top fitness applications
There are thousands of apps designed to help people improve their physical health, mental health, and the overall well-being. Not all of them, however, are as good as they are expected to be. Considering this, we have compiled a list of the best fitness apps everyone would like to have on his or her smartphone.
With the Nike Training Club app, you will get an idea of how effective at-home workouts might be. Fully guided 15-, 30-, and 45-minute sessions designed by NTC Master Trainers will take your training to the next level. AirPlay and AppleTV support will allow displaying videos on larger screens. Besides, the app offers encouragement through a reward system and everybody can celebrate his or her achievements by sharing them on social media platforms and getting positive feedback.
Surprisingly, this app is not just a pure fitness activity tracker with a GPS feature. Indeed, Runtastic can track such metrics as time, speed, distance, elevation, and calories burned, but also it has other tools like setting goals, providing motivation by bringing its users a Real Voice Coach, and reminding them when it is time to change their pair of sneakers for a new one. Should you pay for a Premium Membership; personalized training plans, tutorial videos, advanced stats and weekly reports will become available.
As one of the best nutrition and diet apps, MyFitnessPal offers the largest database of over five million food items. It saves your favorite meals and allows adding new recipes and foods. The app is also a fitness tracker that covers hundreds of cardio and strength workouts. MyFitnessPal has a private-access API. It allows developers to connect devices to the nutritional database in real time. This partner integration enables synchronization of information from other apps and devices. Having developed partnership with about 80% of all fitness apps, MyFitnessPal has made this integration the necessity for those who are just about to enter the market.
How to create a fitness app?
Once you have decided what type of fitness app you would like to develop, you need to make it clear what the process of development itself will look like. These are the steps that should be completed:
- Technical documentation. A tech writer creates a document which allows a fitness app developer to assess the time and effort required.
- UX and UI design. The ideas that might turn into new features become the design strategies here to be used when coding and launching the mobile application. It also deserves attention, since the User Experience and User Interface define your app’s success.
- Development. The fitness app development does not differ much from the development of any other app. However, developers should have a clear understanding of the app niche, for there is still one distinctive feature, i.e., wearables data integration. App design, functionality, user interaction, and connectivity development are with this a challenge.
- Testing. What is more, the overall trial for testing the usability of the app plays a very important role. The quality compliance team should be involved to define a test strategy for a product tackling crashes, bugs, and broken link issues.
The competitiveness of the fitness apps market is a hindrance companies may face. Consequently, uniqueness and usefulness of a product are a must in developing such an app. Since wellness, fitness and health are all about an individual, a single user; personalization is a key. The fitness app with an idea, non-intrusive notifications, all necessary for a certain type of application features and, if relevant, wearables integration will win users’ hearts.
(с) 2018, Vilmate LLC
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