There’s an overwhelming amount of apps out there (approximately 1.3 million for Android users and 1.2 million in Apple’s app store with around 75 billion downloads and 300 million views a week). But how do you know which ones to download? Which ones are worth paying for? How to differentiate between Google and Apple maps? Airbnb or Hotel Tonight? Tinder or Bumble? We’re in search of answering these questions and each week we’ll be bringing you our weekly app pick.
British Columbia has just been named Canada’s healthy province. And technology is largely beginning to shape the way we exercise. By utilizing GPS and other features available on our smartphones, fitness apps have become a fantastic way to keep track of your progress, objectives and goals. This app pick is geared towards the city’s hoards of runners and cyclists out there and is perfect for those who thrive on competition. The fitness app that has my vote this week is Strava’s running and cycling app.
Vancouver has no shortage of bike lanes and scenic terrain that Vancouverites put to good use. If you want a tool to record rides and runs from commutes to intense training, Strava is an excellent choice. The cycling/running app has a vast bank of data collection and knowledge with features ranging from elevation profiles, logistics, maps of rides or routes. For each ride or run, the app tracks distance, moving time, elevation, calories, speed, heart rate, and average temperature. Elevation, speed and heart rate are all available in chart format so users can overlay them to see personal results and how their results compare to the competition.
Attach your smartphone to your bike or place it in your pocket for lapse time, distance and speed while riding or running. Alongside the summary of your pace, distance, etc., you also see a trophy and a score. Tap it, and Strava brings up a list of different segments on your route to tell you how you shape up against other Strava users. If you use the app continuously while running or cycling along the same route, Strava will also tell you when you achieve your personal best.
Your profile keeps track of your personal gain. The interface is easily navigable and users have the freedom to search for friends and their activities, join or create clubs, find the most popular and competitive segments, and even keep track of the age and status of their gear. Users can also upload files from other compatible GPS devices, like Garmin or Timex, to Strava’s webpage.
Explore rides and runs around you. An intuitive feature of the app is that it allows users to search different rides fellow cyclists and runners are doing around the city. This is also perfect for travellers looking to get a little exercise in a different city. Another winning feature of Strava is that users are able to build on the platform. Create your own workout cycles and segments based on hills, sprints, etc. The leaderboard feature allows users to compare how they are stacking up to the competition and adds incentives for users- like earning the coveted title of king (or queen) of the mountain.
Challenges. If you want to ride a certain amount of kilometres in a month or reach a certain amount of elevation. Strava offers users different races and ongoing challenges like the “race of the day.”
Interactive competition and social connectivity. The social aspect of Strava allows you to find friends, follow them, and track their rides and runs. Virtually cheer on friends and athletes all over the world doing marathons, races, trail rides, mountain biking and more. And don’t let the thought of sharing results discourage you. Privacy settings allow you to turn your results off and keep any ride or run private. So whether you’re competing against yourself to beat your best time, or looking at the long list of strangers who absolutely crushed you on some nasty uphill stretch of your favourite route, Strava brings a fierce competitive edge to your workouts.