One day you’ll be able to unlock your front door with your smartwatch or tell it to fetch your self driving car from wherever it’s parked. Until then fitness is the one thing most smartwatches are actually good for.
Read this: The best fitness tracker you can buy
With the imminent arrival of the Apple Watch 2, Android Wear improving with every update and even cult favorites like Pebble giving the big boys a run for their money, we’re set to see an explosion in fitness apps customised for that space on your wrist. Here’s the best fitness apps designed to work with wearables.
The whole MapMyFitness suite is pretty much available on every wearable device you can get. Its versatile and well-made platform make it a must-download since there’s a tracking app for everyone, whether you’re a runner, walker or cyclist.
If you want gamified exercising, then look no further then this app. Zombies, Run! plops you in a story that essentially, forces you to run and collect supplies that help your base. You can even choose your own custom playlists as the story unfolds in between your tracks through a series of dynamic radio messages and voice recordings. Just remember: every time you hear zombies, run.
FitStar is now available on the Fitbit Blaze though it was on Android Wear and iOS as well. The idea is that you can fire up a workout, and then follow it on the watch however there’s only three workouts – Warm up, 7 Minute Workout and 10 Minute Abs – on the Blaze. You can pay more for other workouts on the other platforms and there will probably be updates for Fitbit’s watch.
Endomondo for Android Wear
Just like Runtastic, Endomondo was also quick off the starting block with its app update to support Android Wear. There’s voice command support included, a feature we’re rather fond of, plus a customisable screen that’ll show you whatever stats are most important to your current activity.
There’s also compatibility with Samsung’s range of Gear watches, including the latest, though not always considered greatest, Gear S.
Strava Running for Android Wear
With Endomondo and Runstatic both boasting support for Google’s Android Wear platform, you won’t be surprised to find out that rival Strava also counts it amongst its features.
The unique addition here though is Route, a clever trick that lets you save your current route for a later date or download a new one that another app user has already posted.
Free, Android Wear
Nike+ Running for Apple Watch
The Nike+ FuelBand may have been one of the original fitness focussed wearables to make us stand up and literally be counted but even though no new hardware is on the horizon the Oregon based sports giant still has the Nike + Running app.
In a recent update, the app added support for a load more products, including those from Garmin, TomTom, Wahoo Fitness and Netpulse, plus the teasing news of support for the forthcoming Apple Watch. The watch based app, which should be ready for the big release on April 24, builds in many of the regular features of the Nike+ app, like keeping track of your pace, gazing upon leaderboards and sending fellow runners a virtual cheer.
Free, Apple Watch + others
Apple Watch Workout
The Workout app comes preloaded on the Apple Watch and it’s designed for those who really want to get detailed stats, rather than just a casual summary.
There are specific modes for running, walking and cycling, while it’ll show you real time information as you workout, ranging from elapsed time to calories and pace.
Free, Apple Watch
Apple Watch Activity
You could say this is Apple’s more basic of the two fitness preloaded Apple Watch fitness apps, but that’s not to say it’s not worth your time. The simple three ring user interface combined with the straightforward move, exercise and stand labels plus three easy to see at a glance colours, give a quick overview of how active you are a daily basis.
All the data will be synced back to the Activity app on your iPhone, which will appear once your Apple Watch is connected.
Free, Apple Watch
Built for Sony’s bevy of wearables, including the SmartBand, SmartBand Talk and the excellent SmartWatch 3, Lifelog wants to do more than just track your steps, calories burned and distance.
It’ll interact with other apps to build a more rounded view of your day, from the pictures you snap to the tunes you listen to, laying everything out in a colourful graph on the web or Android app.
Runtastic has really impressed with its ability to support a multitude of wearables, with the app now supporting everything from Android Wear to Samsung’s Gear series and the Pebble.
If you’re rocking Android Wear you’ll be able to quickly start a run though an ‘OK Google’ voice command, keep a track of your stats during an activity and pause everything without hauling out your phone. There’s similar features baked into the Gear and Pebble versions too, but they both lack voice commands of any sort.
Jawbone for Pebble
Pebble is one of the leaders in the smartwatch world, having sold over a million wearables to date and breaking Kickstarter funding records with its latest pair of devices, the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel. But, even though the original watches have been around for a number of years, it’s only in the last few months that it has become a viable fitness accessory.
That is partly down to the Up app, which comes from the makers of the Jawbone UP 24 fitness band. Ditching the need for a dedicated fitness tracker, the app gives a basic overview of your sleep and distance travelled, plus there’s support for meal tracking too. Further detail can be gathered in the UP Android and iOS app, which is easily one of the best, and results seem to be on par with the dedicated UP band.
Misfit for Pebble
The other big hitting fitness tracking app for the Pebble smartwatch comes from Misfit, the brand that already has two bands on the market in the form of the sleek Shine and the budget friendly Flash.
The included watch faces mirror that of the wearable, with a circular band filling up as you meet your goals, but it’ll also show the time, the exact number of steps you’ve taken and a quick overview of your weekly activity. Just like the Jawbone UP, you can jump to the companion app for a more detailed view.
Google’s first attempt at a fitness tracking app has been steadily improving since its release last year, adding in a plentiful array of new features to make it a worthwhile download.
Read this: Getting started with Google Fit
It uses the sensors on your connected Android device to track your activity stats, nothing particularly new there, but the latest update also brings what Google refers to as experimental step detection for when you’re out with your watch sans phone.
There’s also support for over 100 activities, the ability to set daily goals and of course all the collected data is beamed back to the companion app, which is available on both the web and Android.