Often when I travel I find that I get much more exercise than when I am working for hours at my computer at home. But I also often consume many more unhealthy calories while on the road. And any exercise routine I have developed is completely forgotten. But there must be a way to keep everyone active while traveling, right? Let’s use the kids’ favorite exercise equipment: their phone or tablet.
I asked some of the top family travel bloggers to tell me about their favorite fitness apps to use on the road.
Keeping Track of Nutrition and Exercise
Elena Sonnino from the wellness site LiveDoGrow likes My Fitness Pal for keeping track of activity and food/calories on the go. I have been using this app for the past few weeks to track my calories and exercise, and I must say it is the best I have tried, and I have tried a lot. It is super-easy to enter foods from the massive user-generated database, or to enter your own recipes and calculate nutritional information automatically. It also uses your iPhone step counter within the app to calculate how many “extra” calories you have burned by walking.
Keryn Means from Walking On Travels recommends Lose It for keeping track of calories on the road.
Daily Mile is an all-purpose fitness athletics tracking app recommended by Brennan Pang, founder of Trekaroo.
Exercise on the Road
Mindbody Connect is an app that helps you find local fitness classes wherever you are. You can register directly in the app for many classes.
Tabata Pro, recommended by Elena Sonnino, allows you to create interval workouts you can do in your hotel room, hotel gym, or outside in the sunshine.
Exercise in the Room
Katie Iverson-Baird from Tips for Family Trips is a fan of the 7-Minute Workout, and its accompanying app. “I just discovered the 7 minute workout app and it is great. Can be done anywhere and no excuses because you can always find 7 minutes to be healthy. It would be great for hotel rooms and traveling I think,” she says. This sentiment is echoed by Sabina King from A King’s Life: “The kids love the fast pace of it!” Our family began using the 7-minute workout routine during a rather sedentary part of our round-the-world trip, and found it to be a great, quick way to get the heart pumping.
Carrot is my own favorite app for the 7 minute workout. There’s a robot overlord narrator spurring you to act by hurling ridiculous insults at you before, during and after your workout. Kids will definitely enjoy this one. You can also track weight and other exercise in this app. It sometimes helps to have a little humor involved in the workout.
Running on the Road
Several of the bloggers I spoke to are devoted runners, and I am decidedly not, so I can’t vouch for many of these myself. But I trust Elena Sonnino and Brennan Pang to point us in the right direction.
Elena Sonnino recommends Map My Run for finding and recording walking or running routes.
Elena also recommends Charity Miles, which logs your miles and distance and donates money to a charity of your choice based on your distance.
Several bloggers recommended 5K Runner: 0 – 5K run training for graduated lessons in how to train for your first 5K. It starts very slowly, with intervals of walking and running, and gradually builds your endurance. If you have never considered yourself a runner, this app can help you train for your first 5K.
All Trails,recommended by Brennan Pang, founder of Trekaroo, is an app for finding hiking and biking trails near you. The app provides details about access to the trail, photos and reviews so you know what to expect.
Zombies Run, also recommended by Brennan Pang, has got to be my favorite app for making a run fun for everyone in the family. The app narrates your run as though you are being chased by zombies, urging you to speed up and slow down depending on where the zombies are around you. Kids will love it.
Meditation and Relaxation
Headspace is a great app for guided meditation and relaxation, recommended by Elena Sonnino and affirmed by me. It is a good introduction to meditation, with several “lessons” for beginners. “It is great for a plane or when you can’t sleep in a hotel,” says Elena.
Sleep Machine, a white noise generator, is a favorite of Keryn Means. “I can NOT sleep without some sort of white noise. I have it on every electronic we own just in case.”
Thanks to all these bloggers for their input. Go check out their blogs!
- Keryn Means – Walking On Travels
- Elena Sonnino – LiveDoGrow
- Brennan Pang – Trekaroo
- Katie Iverson-Baird from Tips for Family Trips
- Sabina King from A King’s Life
Do you have a favorite fitness app not listed here? I would love to hear about it. Add your favorites in the comment section below.
UPDATE: It’s not an app, but Tramaze is a great website for finding shared fitness experiences when you travel. Fancy a sunset run along the Potomac in Washington, DC? Or a personal training session in the shadow of the Washington Monument? You can find it here.