This series is sponsored by my absolute favorite homeschool organizing tool…Scholaric Planner. Scholaric makes my planning life a breeze!
While we need to place limits on our family’s screen time (for kids’ sake as well as parents’ own boundaries!), cheap technology is useful when used appropriately.
Even in fitness.
Beyond the typical technologies we think of within the fitness realm (treadmills, online running watches, iPods for music, etc.), helpful apps and gadgets are created regularly.
Both as a former teacher and current homeschooler, we’ve found several useful tools to encourage family fitness or bring new ideas and information to our routines.
(By the way, we have no material connection to the following apps or gadgets. Just sharing what we’ve learned about!)
5 Family-Friendly Fitness-Related iOS Apps
These apps are for iOS devices (since that’s what I have access to). The more popular of these apps may be available for Android devices, or Android users might be able to find something comparable.
- MyFitnessPal – If you want an app to help you track your workouts, eating schedule, and keep you accountable with a friend or family members, this is a great app to use. You can do all of the above and chart your goals and results, too. If multiple family members have app-ready devices, you can “friend” other people on the MyFitnessPal app and send messages of encouragement to each other and track each other’s workouts and progress. I love being able to add in my own exercises as well as use the app’s database. (FREE, and this one is also available for Android and Windows Phones)
- FitnessBuddy – Want to create your own workout? FitnessBuddy offers a large database of exercises for with or without equipment. You can select one of their premade workouts, or you can create your own routine. Each exercise is described in detail, and you can track your workouts in this app, too. ($1.99, iPhone and iPad versions available)
- Nexercise – I haven’t used this app yet, but I’ve read positive reviews. Evidently you can earn real-life rewards for tracking your workouts! This app might be useful for parents or teens who want a little external motivation on a fitness-based plan for health goals. Since I don’t have personal experience with this app, I recommend parents checking it out before letting your kids use it. (FREE, and an Android version coming soon)
- FitQuest Lite – This iPhone app (which can also be downloaded on an iPad and magnified) presents fitness within a game. While holding an iPhone or iPad, you jog and the device’s motion control senses when you jog, jump, duck, etc. to avoid obstacles on your character (a squirrel)’s run. I’d suggest ages 4 and up, and I found it fun to participate in, too! (FREE)
- Family Fitness (Simple & Fun) – This app definitely is simple. The app only offers two exercises (maybe there’s a paid version with more?) and a few variations of increasing difficulty on those two exercises. These exercises focus on stabilizer muscles and are static positions. The exercises are effective for increasing balance/stability, but kids might tire of this app quickly. I suggest using it for a family challenge (can you hold the position for one whole minute?) or something new to try on a rainy day. (FREE)
3 Awesome Gadgets for Family Fitness
- Pedometer – Pedometers track the number of steps you take by typically resting on your waistband at your hip to sense hip movement. Young children (ages 4 or 5 and up) can use them along with adults, and you can plan a range of homeschool activities with a pedometer, including estimation activities, charting, counting, goal-setting, and more. If you’re looking for a gadget while on a budget, a pedometer might meet your needs. They range from very simple and inexpensive to those with more features and memory.
- Tracking devices (like FitBit and the Up band) – I haven’t used FitBit, the Up band, or any other similar devices personally, but I’d like to! The reviews and features I’ve read seem very useful to multiple ages and fitness needs. Most of these devices have compatible apps to track your progress, goals, and more. Though they’re more expensive, it might be helpful for some families.
- Geocaching (GPS devices) – GPS as fitness tech? Why, yes! Geocaching is a fun, adventure-focused activity that definitely includes fitness as you and your family search for hidden caches. Plus, you can incorporate lots of homeschool subjects into geocaching, including explorations of geography, directional knowledge, distance estimations, and more. All ages can participate in geocaching together as a family. (We’ve even geocached with kids in baby carriers!) Want to know more about geocaching? Check out the main site here to learn more and find cache hunt sites. All you need is a GPS device (Garmin is a well-known brand) or a geocaching app and a cache to find! If (somehow) a cache isn’t already hidden near you, you can plant one and possibly start a new fitness option in your area!
How do you use technology within fitness for your family? Have you used any of the apps or gadgets listed above? Share your experiences in the comments!