Get Off the Couch and Get Fit with Couch-to-5k

Autumn is my very favorite season. I love the crisp air and the glorious colorful leaves. It is the time of year that I love to take walks. And so yesterday I hit the local rail-trail. (Blog photo above is from yesterday’s walk, taken with the iPhone 5, just a quick snap and no-editing).

I was not alone on the trail. Bikers, walkers and runners were all taking advantage of the perfect day.

There are many wonderful fitness apps, but the one that I thought I’d share today is Couch-to-5k.

If you are a new runner, or someone who is even thinking about running, this app might be something that you would like to try.

All you do is …… touch START.

That’s it! So very easy to use. A human voice will guide you. (You have the choice of 3 virtual coaches). He/she will tell you to walk, and after a while he/she will tell you to run (briefly) and then walk again. Run, then walk, repeat, repeat. For 30 minutes.

The beginning intervals start with just a minute and a half of jogging, followed by 2 minutes of walking, repeat, repeat.

Each week the workout changes somewhat. A subtle increase. A little tiny bit more running, and a little less walking. The intervals of running increase slightly as you gradually improve.

These workouts gently shift your activity from walking to running.

You can play your own music through the app, and you will still hear the voice giving you your prompts.

Personally, I am not ever going to be a runner. I can’t even walk very fast. But I still enjoy the encouraging voice and I use the “running time” to speed up my walk just a bit. It also keeps me honest by walking for a full 30 minutes.

But for someone who would like to run, and needs some help to get started, this app would be incredibly valuable.

Engadget and Runner’s World both think highly of Couch to 5k, and you can see their praise highlighted here in the app description. Couch to 5K is $1.99 in the iTunes store.

A Map App for Fun and Fitness: Map Draw for the iPad

 

If I had to whittle my apps down to just a few, Map Draw would definitely be on my “must keep” list.

I think this is an awesome app.  I use it to check out distances all the time. Any Boomer will remember that on the back page of a big paper atlas, there was always a chart that allowed you to check the mileage between cities. Well, with this app, checking mileage between cities is just the start. The real fun is all the OTHER ways to check mileage. Want to know how far it is from your house to the grocery store? Want to know the shortest route home from work? Want to know exactly how far you are walking/running when you zig zag through your neighborhood? Is the restaurant close enough from your hotel to walk there? You can do all that, and once you start using it, you will find many more routes to measure.

It is very easy to use. Just open the app, and zoom in to the area that you would like to measure. The app allows you to zoom right down to street level very quickly …… anyplace in the world.  Once you have your starting spot visible, just touch the screen. Then touch any other spot and the app will show you a line and measure the distance. You can continue tapping to add a zig this way and a turn that way, until your total trip is measured. I was surprised to learn that one of my “short cuts” home, wasn’t that short at all. (I changed my route!)

There are some more bells and whistles to this app, but just the distance-tapping alone makes Map Draw well worth the $2.99.

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