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We love our phones. A lot. They do pretty much, like, everything. They take pictures, shoot video, play music, run games, and about a million other things.

But the most exciting development yet is how our phones are helping us get in shape. Sure, mobile apps allow us to fling exploding birds at green pigs, but they also help us run faster, get stronger, eat smarter, and connect with people around the globe.

For this list, Greatist scoured every app market for standout apps that were pushing the boundaries of health and fitness. Not all of these are the most downloaded apps (though we certainly considered that). Instead, we focused on some key metrics: Is the app highliy rated? Is it user-friendly? Is it reliable or is it buggy? Does it do something unique? And can it continue to grow and innovate? Much of these are subjective (we know), and we tried to cover an array of interests, so naturally there will be apps that could have made the list but didn’t. We wanted to choose 10 free health and fitness apps that are reinventing the way mobile phones can help us lead better lives, one healthier choice at a time.

From mainstays like Nike Training Club to gamified programs like Zombies, Run! to educational powerhouses like Khan Academy, this list — in no particular order — runs the gamut of what’s to come for the future of our health. And best yet? Almost all of them are free.

Fitness and Strength

GymPactGymPact

What It Is: Skipping a workout is a lot harder with cold hard cash on the line. GymPact lets users ante up and tie a monetary incentive to working out.
Why It’s Cool: Users who check in at their gym with the GymPact app get to keep the money they put up, while those who miss a workout lose a predetermined chunk of change. GymPact also features integration with RunKeeper (one of our top apps!) and at-home workout options.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android.

CodyCody

What It Is: Cody is a fun way to log workouts and share them with friends. Users can track their fitness progress via timelines, stats, and highlights and can also receive encouragement and advice from “Cody," a virtual fitness coach.
Why It’s Cool: Cody offers the tools of most workout logs — tracking time, distance, location, and notes. But its real focus is on celebrating users’ fitness through social sharing. Friends and acquaintances can follow each other’s fitness progress and cheer each other on through likes, comments, and photo sharing (the app also easily integrates with Facebook).
Cost: Free. Available for iOS (starting 3/27).

Teemo_1Teemo

What It Is: Who said working out had to be so much “work"? Certainly not the folks at Teemo. This app turns fitness into a game that doesn’t require a gym, exercise equipment, or even running shoes. Invite Facebook friends to a “virtual challenge" in a specific environment, like a jungle, mountain, or desert. Participants win by doing expert-approved cardio, strength, and flexibility exercises which range from easy to difficult. Teemo makes exercising a social event and gets people to incorporate movement into their daily lives.

Why It’s Cool: Do we really need to say? It’s like being inside a video game!
Cost: Free. Available for iOS.

sportaneous_0Sportaneous

What It Is: Sportaneous lets users find and book fitness classes in a snap. Yoga? Pilates? Kickboxing? Users can find ut what’s close and get moving!
Why It’s Cool: The app encourages discovery, pushing users to try new classes and new routines. The app also lets users sign up together so you won’t have to sweat by yourself.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS.

DailyBurnDailyBurn

What It Is: Fitness DVDs are so 2000. Stream a workout directly to your phone (or computer) anytime with the DailyBurn app. For $10 per month, subscribers can access a carefully curated library of professional-quality fitness videos. A panel of expert trainers (specializing in different areas of fitness) keep you on your toes through each exercise session.
Why It’s Cool: From yoga to cardio kickboxing to dancing to kettlebells, this app has a workout video to suit any fitness preference and goal. The app includes videos for every level, from beginner to advanced.
Cost: Free (with online subscription). Available for iOS and Android.

Food and Nutrition

Epicurious_0Epicurious

What It Is: Search through more than 30,000 professionally-created recipes, save your favorites, and create shopping lists with this essential kitchen app.
Why It’s Cool: On top of the basic recipes and shopping lists, the app offers step-by-step instructions to help even novice cooks navigate more complicated recipes.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android.

FoodilyFoodily

What It Is: A recipe database with a social twist, Foodily lets users collect recipes, talk about them with friends, and keep track of anything they love.
Why It’s Cool: Food’s always better with friends, and that’s what makes this social recipe network different. Anyone can browze for recipes, but this app (based on the website by the same name) allows you to save ones you love, show love for those that inspire, and share with friends, family, professional chefs, and strangers alike.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS.

zipongoZipongo

What It Is: Zipongo is all about eating healthier. The app offers discounts for healthy items, contains a meal planning program, and a healthy reward system backed by employers and insurance companies that incentivizes better choices.
Why It’s Cool: Healthy food is more expensive? Too complicated to figure out? Not any more. Zipongo helps lower the cost and provide planning for healthier meals and better grocery lists. The rewards system helps loop in employers, so even your boss will care about your well-being.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS and coming soon for Android.

Weight Management

 

Lose It!Lose It!

What It Is: Want to drop some pounds? Lose It! users get a customized weight loss plan and then use the app to track food, measure activity levels, and connect with peers for group support to reach their goals.
Why It’s Cool: Lose It! can sync up with most of the popular fitness tracking devices and wireless scales on the market. It also has a large food database for easy reference.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS, Android, Kindle, and Nook.

WithingsWithings

What It Is: Withings draws on the basics to monitor wellness. The clear display helps users monitor weekly progress toward long-term goals. Withings also helps keep track of other stats, such as blood pressure and sleep, via other apps like RunKeeper, Bodymedia, and Zeo.
Why It’s Cool: The “Health Mate" sends funny, supporting messages to pump users up to exercise. The display shows a butterly with four quadrants (weight, activity, heart, and sleep) that grows and shrinks depending on how healthy users are at that moment.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android.

 

 

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