Playing Farmville may make you feel like you’re enjoying the hearty exercise of yard work at times, but there’s no mistaking your virtual digging, plowing, planting, and harvesting as activities that are truly good for your health. Here is an overview of eight Facebook applications that will help you stay healthy by connecting you to a network of motivated friends, family and fitness buffs alike.
This is an application for runners, joggers, bikers or walkers who choose to get their exercise in while enjoying the great outdoors. You can use MapMyRun.com to find routes that people in your home town have created, tagged with such descriptions as “low traffic”, “scenic”, “residential” and “country roads”. Each route is given a name, length, and links to a Google Map that shows the starting and ending points and the route’s path. You can add routes, share them, and give feedback. If you can’t find the perfect route already created, MapMyRun.com lets you map a new route using an intuitive point-and-click interface. Your routes, workouts and other features can be added as boxes to your Facebook profile.
This app is great for someone looking to start a running group or just see where your neighbors like to run. It could also be useful if you’re a traveler, as you can quickly and easily find out where the locals get their exercise.
Fit-ify (Weight Loss)
Setting and achieving goals is a large part of succeeding in a workout regimen, and the Fit-ify application can help. One you install the app, you have to answer some quick questions, such as height and gender, and you’re on your way.
Beginning with your current weight, you can use Fit-ify to set weight-loss goals such as maintaining a steady weight or staying withing the boundaries of a healthy body mass index. You can also record your exercise routines, like biking, yoga, and boxing, and set weekly or monthly goals to meet. Fit-ify gives out awards for meeting your goals, which is a great motivator to stay on track with your personalized health plan.
Calorie Counter (Weight Loss)
If weight-loss is your health goal, then this app is for you. With Calorie Counter, you keep track of you food and water consuption, subtract any calories burned through exercise, and easily calculate how many calories you intake in a day. This data can be used to meet weight-loss goals, and Calorie Counter will tell you exactly how many pounds you can expect to lose if you cut back on a certain number of calories each day. This can be used for long-term goals, like a target weight, and you can see exactly how many weeks or months it will take to reach your goal while still maintaining a healthy and sustainable amount of caloric intake each day.
Stop smoking with NICORETTE® icy white (Quit Smoking)
This is a simple app designed to spread the word about the new flavor of Nicorette gum. If you are a smoker, one of your biggest obstacles on the road to good health is this habit, so it’s a great idea to start with this app, and then go discuss the gum and other aids with your doctor.
My Countdowns (Other)
For many people, a goal doesn’t become a reality until it’s shared with friends. This application works by displaying a countdown to a certain date on your profile, so that you and all of your friends can keep track of a specific upcoming event. This is a useful app for almost any event, like a wedding or a birthday, but in this case, you can use it to display the day that you hope to reach your weight loss target, the day you can do twenty push ups without breaking a sweat, or the day of your charity marathon.
With the ability to choose from dozens of designs, pictures, and fonts, you can customize your countdown to reflect your health and fitness goal, and have a little fun in the process too.
Yoga Poses (Yoga)
Originating in India centuries ago, yoga is a balanced activity that aims to combine the physical, mental and spiritual in poses that will challenge even the biggest health buffs. This app has a good list of basic yoga poses that you can add to your profile and share with friends. Users can click on each pose, and read a detailed description alongside step-by-step pictures, tips and the benefits of that particular pose. This is a great application for the beginner, as it is easy to follow and can be shared with friends and family for motivation.
Cardio Trainer (Cardio)
Using the Cardio Trainer application for your smartphone, you can map your run, hike, bike, or walk in real-time. This free application uses GPS to map your coordinates and speed, and you can upload this information to your Facebook page by installing the Cardio Trainer Facebook app. The instantly available information, easy tracking, and ability to set time and distance goals means that you can challenge yourself to go further and faster, and share your successes with your friends on Facebook.
Medical News Today (News)
This application is great for anyone looking for up-to-date, accurate news about the health sciences. From the latest pharmaceutical breakthroughs to info-sheets on physical and mental health problems, Medical News Today features the latest health news from across the nation. There are anywhere from two to ten new articles posted per day, which makes this an active and useful app if you want to learn about the science of your health. And you can even customize your medical news feed to filter only the category or categories of news that you are most interested in.
All of these applications can be used in combination, or you can pick and choose which ones fit best with your personal goals. Facebook is a great place to share your successes with your friends, and by adding these apps you can motivate yourself to meet and exceed your weight-loss goals, stick to a cardio program, or simply maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.