Ahhh winter, you sure do provide a multitude of hurdles to our health routines. As the mercury drops, green smoothies and boot camp lose their appeal and slow-cooked meats, red wine and electric blankets become the order of the day. So good, but so very, very bad.
So, where can we find the motivation to shimmy into our lycra when our bodies want to hibernate? The answer, my friend, lies in your smart phone. There are absolutely HEAPS of apps that'll help you stick to your health and wellness plans (plus a few that can be completed inside in your PJs).
Dear Listers, thaw out those beach bods with 9 of the best health and fitness apps for winter.
This nifty running app will have couch potatoes covering five kilometres (without stopping!) in just nine weeks. The program works on graded walking and jogging intervals, gradually increasing until you can run the whole distance. A virtual coach will guide you through each session, and the app will track your distance, pace and routes, sharing your progress with your Facebook (if that's your kind of thing). Conquered the 5K? Well, The Couch-To-10K is next, my friend!
Getting paid to go to the gym and eat your veggies? We'll toast to that! Pact is a health and fitness app that uses cash stakes to help you achieve your goals. Yep, for real. You start by making a pact to exercise more or eat healthier, setting what you'll pay other Pact members if you don't achieve your goal. Use the app to track your progress and you'll earn real cash if you fulfil your pact, or be forced to pay up if you don't. Oh, and don't even think about fibbing about that Krispy Kreme either – they use GPS, photos and other services to keep you honest (and your booty on track).
Free | iPhone | Android
Practice yoga in the warm, toasty confines of your home with the Pocket Yoga app. You just set your phone in front of your mat, select a practice and Pocket Yoga will guide you through a professional yoga class. There's a total of 27 different sessions, with different practices, levels and durations, featuring illustrated examples so you can keep your posture and alignment in check. We've heard it's one of Miranda Kerr's favourite apps, and if it's good enough for her, it's most certainly good enough for us!
iPhone $2.99| Android $2.81
Those who need a bit of excitement on their morning jog needn't look further than Zombies, Run! – an app that combines your workout with an epic story and audio game. Set in a Zombie apocalypse, runners are sent on a mission to rebuild civilisation, collecting supplies while tyring to out-sprint the brain-hungry hordes. Co-created with award winning novelist Naomi Anderson, the app includes 40 free missions with over 120 extra missions available for purchase.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Using the accelerometer in your smart phone, Sleep Cycle monitors your movement to determine your sleeping patterns, softly waking you up during your lightest phase of slumber. All this meaning you'll rouse feeling well-rested and fresh as can be (hallelujah!). Want to see how you snooze? The app also displays detailed sleep statistics and sleep graphs.
A favourite health and fitness app of dieters across the world, myfitnesspal is quite possibly the ultimate calorie-counting app. No matter how obscure your meal is, punch it in and you'll be given a full nutritional rundown, with over four million items stored in the food database. It's super easy to log your meals, set goals and, if you have an iPhone 5s, you can also track your steps throughout the day. Talk about the ultimate weight loss buddy!
7 Minute Workout Challenge
A total body, fat-burning workout that takes just 7 minutes? Give us a piece of that! This app's research-based workout program comprises of 12 exercises, performed for 30 seconds with 20-second rest intervals. All of the exercises are super simple to perform, don't require any equipment and can be done absolutely anywhere…perfect for busy bodies looking to squeeze in their daily huffy puffy.
iPhone $1.99 | Android $1.95
30 Day Abs Challenge Free
Are all of those lamb shanks starting to show? The 30 Day Abs Challenge will whittle your middle and boost core strength in just a measly month. The app has four different exercises to be completed each day, the exercise time slowly increased to gradually build core body strength. Abs you can grate cheese on. Mmm, cheese.
Free | iPhone
Feeling a little frazzled? Headspace provides 10-minute mediation sessions, the first 10 days given free of charge. Cutesy animations show how the mind works and provide tips and tricks on how to get the most from your mediation. It also allows you to set reminders, track your activity and share your sessions with your other zen-filled friends.
Free | iPhone | Android
Do you have a favourite health and fitness app, Listers? We'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.
Main image credit: Nike via The Fitspo Girl Tumblr.