So Juno just dumped a whole lot of snow on your sidewalks and streets. So much for training for that half marathon — or going much of anywhere, really.
Even if you’re spared from this snowstorm, odds are you’ve been hit by another, or, maybe you just can’t seem to peel yourself away from your Netflix account.
It happens to the best of us. But the beauty of technology is that it usually has a solution for everything, even fitness. So whether you’re trying to ditch your couch potato ways or just looking for some new inspiration, there’s an app (or website) for you.
If promising to eat healthier, and then sucummbing to cookies, hasn’t gotten you results you want, try adding some stakes. DietBet set you up against strangers also trying to lose weight. Put in your weight and some cash, and the race is on for a month. Whoever loses at least 4 percent of their weight—verified with photos and algorithmic auditing—splits the pot (this isn’t biggest loser, so you don’t have to lose 100 or more pounds to earn some cash). For those working on physical fitness goals, GymPact gives you the same concept based on your workouts.
Charity Miles could even make your commute to work better. The app tracks your miles and donates money for distance covered by foot or bike to a number of charities across the U.S. Do good, feel good: We see no downside.
Things That Make Running (Or Walking) Less Painful
If you are stuck on a treadmill, at least change your view. Visual Runner pairs your pace with videos of faraway places. Prop up your iPad and escape the Olympic lifters and whirring fans and run along a beach, or a trail or a mountain.
And here you thought the only Zombies you can see were on TV. Run, Zombies! is an app that turns your walk or run into a great adventure. There’s even a storyline. The choice is yours: Get moving, or pay the price. If you’re not into Zombies, The Walk gives you a storyline without the monsters, rewarding users with a one-minute audio bite for every goal achieved.
So you’ve run, walked or cycled your favorite route a million times. It’s boring, and even more boring in the dark, cold weather. But have you ever seen how your performance stacks up against others? That’s the idea behind Strava, which lets you log and review your time or pace on any given course. It’s also a good way to find new loops and roads.
Work Out With Celebrities (Or Just Those of Internet Fame)
If you want a personal trainer, but not the commitment, consider FitStar from NFL star Tony Gonzalez. Whether you want to master crow’s pose, shave time off your 5k or just be able to do a few pushups, the app creates a workout plan for you based on your schedule and needs. The bad news: It also tracks your progress, so if a workout is too easy, there’s no saving face. Your next will be harder.
YouTube is more than just Ellen clips and cute kitten videos. Barter with yourself: For every adorable baby video you watch, complete a workout video. It is literally impossible to run out of options. You can follow trainers, workout-specific channels or just play roulette. If you don’t like digging, plenty of publications have done the hard work for you with “best-of” lists. (New York Magazine has a particularly fun compilation, including a workout from the Jane Fonda of Korea).
Personal Trainer Meets Phone
If you don’t have any grand plans and simply just want to stop sitting around, Human is for you. It just pushes for a “daily 30:” a half hour of movement each day. That could be walking outside, running up your stairs, jumping rope in the basement or Electric Sliding down the hall. it also tracks calories, if you’re into that.
Some days you just get sick of being indoors, but want to escape the sight of snow plows. Crowsflight is, as the company describes it, “a GPS that simply points.” Put in a destination—a restaurant, a movie theater, a park, a bar, a landmark you’ve never seen—and it pulls up a compass, but doesn’t tell you exactly which route to go. You’ll keep track of distance, but be free to roam whichever blocks you’d like. Who knows what you’ll discover along the way?
Who among us hasn’t spent at least seven minutes just clicking through a listicle? Time better spent would be with the 7 Minute Workout from The New York Times. It couldn’t be easier: Just you, your body weight, seven minutes, 12 exercises. The app leaves nothing to question: It outlines all exercises, provides video and text descriptions and runs a timer with voice prompting for each period of work (30 seconds) and rest (10 seconds). Why haven’t you used this sooner? That we can’t tell you.
Ideas That Honor Your Resolution To Get Off Your Phone
If you’re just looking to change things up, try ClassPass. Now in nearly 25 cities across the U.S., the service lets you pay a base rate but attend classes at any studio in its program. Which means you could be doing aerial yoga one night and rock climbing the next. There are a few restrictions about when you can visit studios and how often per month, but there are few better ways to get your foot in a different door.
Turn to that playlist. It’s the oldest trick in the book: Turn on some music and start doing your best Patrick Swayze, a la Footloose. Make it fun by changing up the station, or perfecting a new move with the turn of every song. Hello, moonwalk.
Okay, cleaning isn’t all that appealing. But if you make it part of a challenge, it’s more like a race to sparkling floors than another dreaded twirl with the mop. There are lots of of 30-day cleaning challenges that lay out a step-by-step approach to de-cluttering and cleaning your home, however big or small. If you want to take it slow, there are 52-week plans, too.
Take to the stove. No, not for cookies. Cook up some new recipes, or try ingredients you haven’t before. Vow to cook through an entire cookbook. Use Facebook or Google docs to gather your friends and family and challenge each other to eat vegetables with each meal, or ditch meat a few nights a week, and talk about your progress. You can make it low stakes—public social media shaming for falling off track—or high stakes, say, a bet or the promise of a weekend getaway in a tropical, snowless paradise.
If you are going to sit on the couch, at least work your brain. Khan Academy has thousands of free videos and articles on subjects from politics to art and science. So, at least your brain will get a workout, even if your abs don’t.