Ten years ago, only a few specialized brands offered athletes trackers to better analyze health data during training. Fitness trackers are now common for obtaining precise information on sleep and activity. But even without dedicated equipment, it is possible to use the sensors integrated into smartphones to obtain essential information.
In this article, we present the best activity tracking apps for Android and iOS mobiles.
Equipped with GPS, a compass, an accelerometer, a high-speed internet connection and sometimes other sensors, smartphones are good tools to simply track the daily physical activity of their owner. By carrying it around in the pocket or hanging it around the arm, it can record movements and interpret them as a sports activity. Adding to that a sleep and eating history, the phone turns into a real personal trainer.
The applications record dedicated human physical data (gender, age, height, weight) to estimate the number of calories burned during an effort. The user adds his personal goals and can compare himself with his friends to stay motivated.
Best activity tracking apps
We have selected four activity tracking apps, which can be used for free and don’t require a smart fitness tracker to work.
Google Fit – The free sports activity tracker, by Google
When the application is initialized, Google Fit requests data about the user: gender, age, height and weight. It is important to enter them correctly to optimize the calculations of the application.
You can connect other apps and devices to the Google Fit app to add data automatically. But don’t worry if you don’t have a fitness tracker. From the diary, user can manually add blood pressure data, physical activity or weight update. Google worked with the World Health Organization to develop the Google Fit app.
Benefits of Google Fit:
- Recognizes more than 100 sports activities.
- Automatically records walking, running and cycling.
- Support sleep tracking.
- Compatible with many connected devices to retrieve more accurate data.
Disadvantages of Google Fit:
- Does not support diet monitoring.
- Does not work with Samsung Gear devices.
- Does not offer an option for blood glucose monitoring.
Fitbit – The application of the leader in fitness trackers for sportsmen
Fitbit is one of the most well-known consumer activity tracker brands, and was recently bought by Google. When starting the app for the first time, the user must indicate which Fitbit device they have. But at the very bottom of the list, it is possible to indicate no fitness tracker to use only the basic functions of the program.
Fitbit allows you to manually add your daily water intake and diet. For this, you can use the barcode reader integrated into the application.
Benefits of Fitbit:
- You can add your friends to the Fitbit community to compare your results and take advantage of group emulation.
- Groups give advice on eating healthy, sleeping well or stretching properly.
- Completely manage the diet with a smart barcode recognition tool.
Cons of Fitbit:
- Without a fitness tracker, activities that can be tracked by the smartphone are limited to walking, running and hiking.
- It is difficult to understand each ingredient and its amounts on a daily basis.
- You quickly feel limited by using the application without a connected device.
Looking for a fitness tracker instead? Opt for KoreTrak. This high-tech fitness tracker comes with innovative features like biometrics, pulse oximeter, IP67 waterproof, etc. To know all about the features of this fitness tracker, read this comprehensive Koretrak smartwatch reviews.
RunKeeper – The tracking app for sports accessories brand Asics
RunKeeper is provided free of charge by the footwear and sportswear brand Asics. It allows you to record about fifteen different activities, in chrono or GPS mode. During training, RunKeeper can stream music by connecting to Spotify or Deezer, for example. Statistics can be announced orally, to be informed of the end of a defined duration or when the desired distance has been reached.
During registration, the app offers a paid subscription to RunKeeper Go. It is an advanced sports assistant that suggests training programs and offers detailed statistics, but it is not necessary to subscribe to the proper functioning of the application.
Benefits of RunKeeper:
- Support for a large number of activities and their recording in GPS or chrono mode.
- Music playback directly linked to the application.
- Audio statistics (time, distance, pace …) that keep you informed during the effort.
- The choice of special unique sessions to work on endurance, accelerations or simply burn calories.
Disadvantages of RunKeeper:
- Does not support diet monitoring or sleep stages.
- The community is not as active as that of Fitbit app users.
- The announcement of the intervals and the audio statistics sometimes interfere with each other.
Endomondo – The activity tracker, by the American Under Armor
Like RunKeeper, Endomondo is a sports activity tracker app developed by a sports equipment supplier. In this case, it is the American Under Armor. A paid subscription to Endomondo Premium is offered: it gives access to training plans and advanced exercise statistics. However, it is not necessary for the operation of the application.
Endomondo automatically registers sports activities. The user can register for challenges or commit to setting goals. He can add his Facebook friends or contacts from his phonebook to the application to compare himself to others and motivate himself.
Benefits of Endomondo:
- No internet connection required to use the app.
- Challenges, commitments and friends are good ways to keep motivation.
- The user can choose to display a priority the most important information to his eyes: time, pace, speed, calories, distance, etc.
Disadvantages of Endomondo:
- In the history, you can only delete activities one by one.
- A large number of features are reserved for paying users.
- The app is made to automatically record outdoor activities. Indoor sports must be entered manually.
By using them for free and without a fitness tracker, these applications allow basic physical activity monitoring, but daily and without time limit. Often, just having a goal (number of steps, daily effort) will help you increase your activity.
If you get a taste for a regular sporting activity thanks to one of these applications, you can start to think about acquiring a fitness tracker. The latter, often equipped with a heart rate monitor and a sleep analysis tool, will provide useful details on your effort management.