I was running from zombies the other weekend in the woods just outside Gila Community College, on one of my favorite running trails that it appears only beasts from some post-apocalyptic world know about.
As I was running, it dawned on me that I was actually having fun. That is a big deal, because I hate jogging.
I hate how the cool air makes my ears hurt, how my lungs burn and my legs itch.
But I didn’t think about any of that during my two-mile walkabout because I was distracted, listening to “Zombies, Run,” a cell phone app that is part entertaining, part terrifying. Two great motivators.
In the app, you help rebuild a base “from the ruins of civilization by collecting critical supplies while avoiding roving zombie hordes,” according to the app’s Web site.
After launching the app, you plug in ear buds and put the phone in your pocket. Using the phone’s accelerometer or GPS, the game keeps track of how fast and where you run. As you walk, a narrator details what supplies you have “picked up” and occasionally tells you to “RUN!” because zombies are nearing. Creepy music of moaning zombies plays, which is truly terrifying if you are running alone in the woods.
“Combining fitness, game play and a gripping story, the game turns the player’s runs into a post-apocalyptic action hero’s fight for survival. Every run is a mission in which the game’s characters — voiced by a full cast of actors — let the player know the stakes, and just why that run is so important. Audio drama clips are interleaved with songs from your own music playlists; the further you run, the more supplies you collect to help the survivors back home.”
Complete a mission in either 30 minutes or an hour and advance further in the game.
This is just one of many cell phone apps that have come out in recent years. Today, there is a health app for just about everything track-able — from steps to calories to workouts.
The chief benefit of apps is accessibility. With cell phones taken everywhere, logging what you had for breakfast then your afternoon workout is easy. And at the grocery store, new apps let you scan products to see their health grade.
And if you want to skip processed foods altogether, there are recipe apps easily tailored to what you have on hand.
If you are like me, you will download all of these and end up using just a couple regularly based on how they fit your lifestyle.
While it may be depressing to realize you run/walk a mile in 15 minutes, it is a great motivator, especially if you share your results through social networking sites like Facebook.
Here is a list of some of our favorite apps, most of which are free.
For the hikers, EveryTrail makes it easy to share travel experiences through interactive maps that include photos taken along a trip route. I turn the app on every time I am hiking or mountain biking. When I get home, I upload the trip and see a map of my route, my average speed and elevation change. The app can also be used for road trips, sailing, flying, hang gliding, geocaching, skiing and kayaking, according to the app’s Web site. EveryTrail has trips from more than 80 countries.
Fooducate’s free Android and iPhone app lets consumers scan food barcodes and see how nutritious they are, each item given a letter grade A through D. The app provides a brief explanation and warning about its nutrients and ingredients and offers healthier alternatives. The app focuses on a product’s sugar and sodium content, trans fats, additives and preservatives and food colorings.
Enter in your medical and physical profile, eating habits and preferences and Nutrino creates a meal plan tailored to each user, with recipes and a grocery list to bout for each meal. The app is dubbed as a personal nutritionist and a free one at that.
FitStar designs personalized workouts based on how a user is progressing. Each session, each move, each repetition is adjusted based on the user’s input. NFL star Tony Gonzalez leads video features, acting as your personal trainer.
Choose what part of your body to focus on and how long you have and Sworkit creates a custom circuit-training workout using just a user’s body weight, no equipment required.