SmartWatches have many benefits from instant notifications to precise health and fitness monitoring. Here are four SmartWatch friendly apps to help you take your workout regime to the next level as well as stay motivated.
Related: See our list of Top Fitness Trackers
Related: See our Top Smartwatches For Women
Before continuing, realize that none of the following apps are designed for 24-hour health monitoring like the Fitbit Force or Nike Fuelband SE. Instead, these apps are geared towards actual workout tracking — like a gym session, going for a swim or taking a run.
1) Swim App
In brief: The swim app is made for the serious swimmer. It is a desktop-based web application that syncs with your SmartWatch. The app tracks strokes, distance swam and time. This information is then displayed on your admin panel on their website, making it easy to watch over time. Swim also makes it easy to connect with pals and compare results.
The swim watch is compatible with a range of SmartWatches. Features vary depending on the type of SmartWatch you use. Learn more about the Swim App here and which watches are compatible.
- Set goals, long term and short term
- View stroke count
- Stroke type (can identify breast stroke versus back stroke)
- Tracks progress month-to-month and week-to-week
- Finds pools near you
- Connect with fellow swimmers
Compatibility: Eight SmartWatches, including the Pebble and other swim-specific watches like the Garmin Swim and Poolmate Live
Official Website: swim.com
In brief: Runtastic is no longer just a running app. The growing company now has multiple fitness tracking options available – meaning it is appealing to athletes beyond just the runner.
More than adding new advanced tracking features, Runtastic even has a wearable on the market – the Orbit. Not to mention other hardware devices for sale such as bluetooth heart rate monitors and armbands. Truly, Runtastic is spreading its reach in the fitness-hardware realm.
The PRO version offers more in-depth real-time workout feedback. It additionally gives better tracking — aside from the route taken. For instance, it makes it easier to track calories. The PRO version also comes ad free on your smartphone as well as makes it easier to connect with pals also using the app.
Runtastic also offers a Gold membership – which is completely separate from the app. The Gold operates on a subscription basis at $35.90 a year. Also, the Gold membership can work with the basic or PRO version of the app.
The upgraded Gold membership is for serious athletes or those trying to hit some major goals. The Gold status allows you to:
- Enjoy the Runtastic fitness website sans ads
- Plan workouts in advance – thanks to a built-in 3-day weather forecast
- Compare your performance against yourself or your pals
- Motivate/cheer on your friends or have them cheer you on with live tracking and cheering (which is kind of creepy to have your friends shouting in your earbuds as you come to the end of a workout … but I guess in some circumstances could me cool)
Learn more about the differences between the Basic and Gold versions here.
As far as the Runtastic app goes, here are some of the benefits:
- Data can sync with MyFitnessPal
- Sony SmartWatch 2 Owners get Runtastic Pro automatically on their watch, so no need to pay
- Music available with Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud and more — right within the Runtastic app (available on Android 4.4 only)
- Heart rate monitoring (depending on smartwatch)
- And many others
Compatibility: For phones – iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows. For Smartwatches – available on Android Wear devices as well as the Pebble Watch.
Cost: Basic (free) or Pro ($4.99) — And of course their optional Gold membership for $35.90 / year
Official Website: runtastic.com
3) Sports Tracker
In brief: First and foremost, this app is Android only. Like Runtastic above, there are two versions of this app: pro and the free version. Both versions have over a four star rating in the Google Play Store.
Nonetheless, on the Google Play Store it is still classified as a low maturity app with only 500,000 – 1 million installs. Nevertheless, this app boasts many features.
Most impressively is its compatibility with various sensors and watches. According to the company, the app is compatible with:
- Bluetooth Zephyr HxM and Polar Wearlink BT and Zephyr BioHarness
- Bluetooth low energy SMART heart rate monitors, bike and running sensors
- Polar Wearlink® + transmitter with Bluetooth®
- Polar H7 and Zephyr Hxm SMART
- ANT+ heart rate monitors, bike and running sensors
Like many of these apps, the feature base will vary based upon which watch you use. depending on what watch you use, the feature base will vary.
- Can track running, cycling, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, sailing, biking and indoor gym workouts and fitness classes
- The watch gives range of stats instantly: pace, speed, heart rate, distance, altitude, etc.
- GPS tracking of your workout, but also offline tracking
- And many other benefits – See the full list here.
Compatibility: Android only, most advance features (Bluetooth, ANT+, and Android Wear only available on Android 4.3+)
Cost: Free for the basic, $6.32 for the PRO
Official Website: sportstracklive.com
In brief: Runkeeper is a GPS-based tracker. It’s a favorite of fitness buffs and others who are healthy minded. Runkeeper is especially great for those who want to track their running, hiking or walking. However, it can also handle cycling.
More than just tracking where you go on a map, RunKeeper also gives your pace in real time as well as calculates your average and top speeds. Furthermore, it always has distance and time stats ready for display.
Furthermore, Runkeeper keeps a history log of your progression. So you can compare how many steps you are taking now to a few month ago!
Arguably, Runkeeper is complicated to use than Runtastic. Aside from the Basic Version, Runkeeper also has an Elite Version.
With the Elite Version, you get:
- A goal coach (Apple Only)
- Live Broadcasting
- Advanced Reporting (must view on desktop)
- Lifetime Insights
- Ability to Compare Workouts
Similar to Runtastic’s Gold, Runkeeper’s Elite is a subscription-based offering at $9.99 a month or $39.99 a year.
Here are some overall benefits of the app, including the basic version.
- GPS tracking
- Displays map of route
- Tracks walking versus cycling and other types of workouts
- Syncs with MyFitness pal and FitBit monitoring device
- Syncs to bluetooth-enabled devices to track heart rate
- Integrate with music player to allow you to track your run and listen to music
- Spoken alerts and fitness-based updates
- Deliver 5K training, 10K training, and Marathon specific training plans form renowned coaches
- Easy to share workouts on Facebook or Twitter (for those who like to brag about how far they just ran)
- Added support to connect your RunKeeper account with Google Fit — this is an optional connection.
Compatibility: For phones, the app is available on Android and iOS. For SmartWatches, available for Android Wear and Pebble.
Cost: Free for the basic, $9.99/month or $39.99/year for the Elite
Official website: runkeeper.com
Conclusion: Is Technology Improving Our Workouts?
The advancement of technology has been improving how we track our workouts. But at the end of the day, a smartwatch won’t force you to get to the gym.
So while these devices are a great sidekick, nothing can compete with one’s own internal drive to get out and get active.
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