Mobile apps continue to revolutionize the ways we run faster, get stronger, sleep more, feel calmer, and eat better. From the fun and zany (zombies!) to the scientific (food allergies!), here are the top 65 in health and fitness. Best yet: Most of them are free.
Before a workout:
- Stay hydrated. Water is going to help you during recovery, so give your body what it needs.
- Watch your nutrition. Your muscles are repairing themselves after a workout, so make sure you’re fueling correctly. Get all your vitamins and nutrients, get your protein and make sure that you’re eating enough.
- Get plenty of sleep. An over-exerting body is going to put unnecessary stress on its muscles, so stay rested and focused.
During the workout itself:
- Always warm-up and cool down. It does your muscle no good if you jump straight into a workout and then suddenly stop. Your body needs time to ease in and out of any workout.
- Stretching is an important part of the warm-up and cool down. Make sure that you’re doing dynamic stretches before the workout (stretches that involve movement, like lunges and leg swings) and static stretches afterward (ones that keep you in place, like touching your toes). Just be sure to never, ever stretch a cold muscle - That’s going to put you in even more pain.
- Compression can help with circulation and will play an important role in preventing inflammation. Compression gear is one way to go about this, so that you can gain some additional benefits to your blood flow during a workout. If you know that certain muscles tend to get sore, dress for the occasion.
- If you’re doing a new routine or trying out a new exercise, don’t go for the full intensity. Your muscles need to get used to any new movement. Cut down on the weight or length of cardio. You can ease into the full workout later on, once your body has started to adapt to it.
- Compression is going to help here, too. Massage and foam rolling are also great ways to use compression after a workout.
- Take a hot/cold shower. Alternating the temperature can increase your blood flow and prevent inflammation. Some people will take ice baths, but the effect can usually be replicated a bit more pleasantly in the shower.
- Ibuprofen. When in pain, don’t feel bad about taking pain relievers. A light one, like ibuprofen, is going to cut down on inflammation and make soreness more bearable.
Fit people who don’t look like fit people are still fit people.
If you can run a marathon but are still chubby, you may not look fit, but you are probably a hell of a lot more fit than people who were born looking thin and barely exercise.