With summer just around the corner everyone is trying to get their summer muscles back in action, and be beach ready. Well, OK, not everyone. But if you are interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, hit the break with us as we look at some great workout applications this week.

 Menno - Instant Heart Rate

Instant Heart Rate

I could tell you how important it is to monitor your heart rate while exercising, how it can help you Instant Heart Ratedesign the optimal workout or a dozen other useful features, but that's not why I chose this app. I made Instant Heart Rate my pick this week because I think the technology behind it is downright cool. The app uses your camera (flash preferred but not required) to monitor your heart rate. I don't have a doctor standing nearby to make sure the readings are wholly accurate, but the readouts seem to match what I get if I use a "real" machine. The free app provides a simple reading, but for $2.99 you can get the pro version which will keep a history of your readers, and a real time PPG graph. Just remember that this isn't a game, so don't try and get the high score. [Market Link]

Joshua Munoz - Endomondo Sports Tracker


I like to run. That's why I couldn't use another workout app once I'd found Endomondo. This is the end-all, be-all of exercise tracking apps, if you ask me. To start, EndomondoEndomondo does the duration/distance/speed thing that should be standard. If you put your weight in (in the settings), it'll tell you your calories burned. But what if you don't like to run? Fret not, as Endomondo covers a rather extensive list of activities, ranging from skating to rowing and even yoga. Turning on GPS ensures your routes get tracked perfectly and uploaded to your fully-featured portal online. Did I forget to mention their website? There you can track your routes, exercise day-today, and see how many burgers you've burned/trips around the world (or to the moon). You can also connect with friends, giving them the opportunity to send you live messages while you're working out, encouraging or otherwise. The free version could meet most needs, but if you're into trying to beat your own time or having a coach help you meet time goals, Pro is the way to go. Endomondo fully supports Bluetooth heart rate monitors (which rocks), plus it says "Free your endorphins!" when you start working out. And what's not to love about that? [Market Link]

Chris Parsons - Stretch Exercises


Let's be realistic here, I'm quite honestly one of the last people who should be writing about exercise apps. I don't run, I don't bike and most days I'm lucky if I leave my couch unless it is to go to the fridge. However, I'm totally aware of my lack of exercise regimen so I do often partake in some stretching to ensure my body won't totally seize up on me in later years. One app I turn to in order to ensure I'm doing things right, rather then actually causing myself more harm is Stretch Exercises -- it's free from the Android Market and teaches you the basics of stretching and guides you through the right practices using visual guides. Having a daily stretching routine can improve your overall health in many ways, having an app to show you how to do it is awesome. Check it out in the Android Market today. [Market Link]

Sean Brunett - Runkeeper


RunkeeperRunkeeper is the perfect app to compliment your fitness routines. It tracks your exercises, like distance, time and heart rate. It also has a really neat feature where you can see your running or walking routes on a map. In addition, it also allows the user to create customized workouts and mention if you’re using a treadmill or exercise machines. It’s a fantastic app that will actually make you excited to work out because of how much information it can help you with. Highly recommended to anyone who works out on a regular basis. [Market Link]

Jared DiPane - Pandora


PandoraSure, Pandora may not seem like part of a workout, but to me an important part of a work out is how you keep motivated. Music always keeps me going, so having Pandora with me on my Android device is always important. Selecting music that fits my mood for that day, or for that particular activity is very important in keeping me motivated to continue the workout. Without music runs become long and tiresome, and often times I want to quit before I should, and Pandora helps me not do this. If you are a music lover, Pandora should be installed on your device and used during workouts! [Market Link]


Reader comments

Android Central Editors' app picks for May 8, 2011


Menno - Instant Heart Rate is usually within 10bpm of being correct for me. I use My Tracks when I run. It gives you more detailed statistics. Plus, it's FREE. The only thing that sucks is it doesn't do calories burned.

Pandora is way better than slacker because it does a much more accurate job of differentiating between different idioms and genre's of music and because of the quick mix function that allows you to mix shuffle different stations together. For instance, impressionist vs minimalist vs programmatic, or dixieland vs ragtime. In fact, the only real problem I have is that sometimes schmaltzy Gershwin and Tchaikovsky numbers turn up in my Shostakovitch/Prokofiev station which I hoped would be reserved for dark strenuous Soviet music.

But in the aggregate, Slacker gives you get much more "huh, why is that piece playing on this station?". And as far as I know Slacker absolutely does not have a quick mix function at all.

my wife has lost over 25 lbs with the help of my fitness pal, she loves it it keeps her motivated and on track.

Runkeeper is very nicely finished on the website, great information and data, I'll be using the Elite Live version for a cycling event I'm taking part in, the app still needs a little work tho, often can't connect to the Runkeeper servers and doesn't have a countdown timer, auto pause, or music integration. With updates coming in the future I'm hopeful. The GPS is very accurate usually on my Desire with little drifting. Despite the apps drawbacks and little annoyances that needs to be worked out the website more than makes up for these. It should get much better in the future :)

You guys have to add JEFIT PRO. A must and the best for those tracking weight lifting. IFitness was ok until they stopped supporting it.

Tried RunKeeper this morning. Seemed to work well but I did not see any heartrate reading which was mentioned in the "review" above. Also,I'd like to see a countdown timer to the start of the activity as well as not counting stopped time (waiting for stoplights or stopping for a drink) when calculating pace. Lastly, my bike computer showed a different mileage. They should have been the same or a lot closer than they were.

I like CardioTrainer. It's free and plugs-in to other apps like calorific.

It calculates calories burned based upon body weight. You can also use it for other exercises than running, like cycling, weights, etc. You can buy a heart rate monitor to use with it.

I didn't see any mention of "elevation" with these running apps. I like Google My Tracks for jogging & hiking in hilly or rugged terrain. It charts your speed & elevation on a line graph. I guess you can hook-up a heart rate monitor although I've never bothered.

Endomondo works great...ties the the HxM bluetooth HRM strap so you can tie your actual heart rate to location.

Using the camera to measure heart rate seems like a hack ;-)

I'll be trying out Endomondo, as RunKeeper is unable to implement a silent option for their app. Even with the phone on silent, it still plays a loud and unnecessary summary after each workout. It does do elevation, at least on the website, as does SportyPal.

+1 for Jefit