Does the gear shift towards fitness in smartphones encourage you to be more active?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| March 13, 2014

Something that is hard to miss these days in smartphones is their recent showcase of integrated fitness and health tracker apps. It seems that most manufacturers are coming up with their own solutions of how they think smartphones can help people better their lives in more ways than just social networking and constant communication with one another. The fitness aspect is just one of those ideas where you just can't really argue with the concept. As somebody who never really liked exercising and know many people who feel the same way, the recent interest from manufacturers to encourage fitness is certainly something to admire coming from any manufacturer who decides to implement it.

I've been kind of a bigger girl my entire life. When I was younger, I was never the most fit kid in class. Perhaps it was because of eating habits, but I think the biggest problem was that I wasn't a huge fan of exercise. I would rather stay inside and play video games with my older brother, or go on the computer and fiddle with Xanga, MySpace, or whatever the latest craze website was. I believe that ultimately my lack of exercise was one of the bigger factors in how I got to be as unhealthy as I was, especially after having my son.

Something had to give, because I couldn't keep living like that.

I started exercising. Every day I would walk or jog around the rather large park that was across the street from my old apartment a few times, but not a whole lot changed from just doing that. I needed more guidance, so I took to the web to find more information. I decided to drastically change my diet, and from there the scale started to move in a happier direction. But as time kept progressing, I noticed that although the scale wasn't moving up, it wasn't moving down as quickly as I would like for it to. I was having a lot of trouble staying motivated to keep going, and I was getting frustrated that the information I was getting wasn't working as well for me as I had hoped. 

This is where smartphones come in. Although manufacturers are now starting to add integrated fitness features and apps into their phones, there are still a ton of exercise and fitness apps on the market that have been available for quite some time - which is great, because these apps really helped me start to understand more about myself and helped me to realize all that I was doing wrong. With apps like MyFitnessPal, Water Your Body, C25K and a slew of music apps to motivate and help me I was able to successfully start moving that scale in the direction I wanted at a pace that I was happy with. In a way I guess it's sad to say that it took my smartphone to get me to actually make that change happen in my life, but at the same time I'll take what I can get. If it weren't for my smartphone and the fitness apps available for it, I would have probably given up a long time ago.

Perhaps it's because of this positive experience from my own preferred suite of apps that makes me feel good about the direction that manufacturers are taking when it comes to smartphones and fitness. Although they are great for communicating with people near and far on all different types of networks, I'm convinced that they make great fitness assistants as well. I'm really happy that manufacturers see this potential, and whether it's solely for money-making purposes or not (because many integrated apps get the best use with new fitness band accessories) they can still be seen as real motivators for people who have trouble finding that motivation in the first place. By being able to easily track what exactly it is that you're doing, or how many calories you really are consuming, these apps make it so much easier to find out what needs to change in order to see the results you want. 

These apps and accessories are also good for people who have health issues they need to keep track of throughout the day, such as their heart rate and blood pressure readings. Although a lot of health issues can't be assisted with today's fitness bands, I imagine as time goes on that these bands will be able to accomodate for more than just heart rate and blood pressure levels, which is also an exciting possibility with this universal gear shift towards improving fitness and health.

What I want to know from readers is if these new integrated fitness apps and trackers are actually motivational to you to keep active or not. Does the fact that your LG or Samsung phone (soon to be iPhone?) features fitness-geared apps make you want to use them, or are they just another included feature that doesn't interest you at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via Ars Technica, Silicon Angle