Why you should care
Because sitting can actually shave years off your life span.
So how is that 2015 fitness resolution shaping up? Don’t answer that. Instead, whip out your smartphone and test these three apps that promise to get you moving.
Whether the culprit is extended hours at a desk or time logged on the sofa staring at a screen, we’ve become a nation of sitters. And prolonged sitting not only ups the odds that you’ll pack on the pounds but also can put you at higher risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer, according to Alpa Patel, a strategic director at the American Cancer Society. “The evidence base around the detrimental health effects of sitting continues to grow,” says Patel, whose 2010 study found that the amount of time you spend sitting is tied to mortality, regardless of your physical activity level. In fact, Patel says, sitting for six hours a day lops two years off an average life span compared with sitting for three hours or less. “Getting up and moving at all is a step in the right direction,” she tells OZY.
iOS and Android
Instead of offering mundane fitness tracking, Zombies, Run! 3 makes a game out of being active. As the “runner,” you are tasked with rescuing civilization from zombies in various story lines. As you run in real life, you progress in the game and accumulate necessary supplies like batteries and medicine. Pop on headphones, and you can hear the story line and sound effects. The app can also mix in your own music; 40 missions are included with the purchase.
Note: Zombies, Run! 3 isn’t for everyone — especially if you prefer serene runs to The Walking Dead.
iOS and Android
Rather than simply tracking your morning jogs and active workouts, Moves also monitors your physical activity during the in-between moments — when, say, you’re taking the dog out or carrying laundry to the basement. The app logs your steps and location to give you a visual diary of your day’s activity.
Note: Moves can be a battery hog if it’s keeping track of your activity in the background, so remember to charge nightly or perhaps carry an extra charger.
Get On Up
iOS and Android
Free, but some features will be paid by subscription.
When this app is released later this year, you can expect it to shake things up in the fitness space. Get On Up is being developed by BioBeats, the company that released Pulse, an app that measures your heart rate and makes music from your pulse. (BioBeats founder Nadeem Kassam also created the successful Basis wearables brand, and the company’s advisers and investors include Deepak Chopra and Will Smith.)
Using motion sensors in your smartphone, Get On Up promises to take any song on your phone or from a streaming music service (exact services TBA) and make that song’s beat match your pace. Imagine: no more feeling like you’re jogging out of sync with your favorite tune.
“It seamlessly mixes with the next song,” explains BioBeats’ Travis Lee Street. “So it pre-speeds-up or pre-slows-down the next song. It’s like a little DJ in your pocket.”
No one’s saying these apps will single-handedly improve your health — that takes a commitment to fitness and not surrendering to the drive-thru. But these helpful technologies could be your virtual motivators to start sweating more and sitting less.