- 1 Best fitness tracking apps for Android and Wear OS
- 2 Best running/walking apps for Android and Wear OS
- 3 Best sleep tracking apps for Android and Wear OS
- 4 Best food tracking apps for Android and Wear OS
- 5 Best mental health apps for Android and Wear OS
- 6 Best medication tracking apps for Android and Wear OS
- 7 Staying fit during the coronavirus quarantine
- 8 If your apps didn't make the list...
- 9 Coming soon...
In the first installment of how to get fit with Android and Wear OS, we discussed the specs any good fitness-oriented Wear OS watch should have, plus we recommended some of our favorite models. In part two, we’re diving deep into the various types of apps that you will use to track metrics, establish good habits, and stay on top of your goals.
The criteria for this segment was simple: All of the top recommended apps on this list deliver a fully functioning Android phone experience (duh) and a companion Wear OS counterpart that will be responsible for gathering vital information. While many of these apps also include paid premium options, all of them provide basic functionality for no money down, making it extremely easy to use them immediately.
Best fitness tracking apps for Android and Wear OS
A good fitness tracking app won't just know how to monitor steps — any pedometer can do that. It should be able to count expended calories, utilize GPS to map your walks/runs, gauge your heartbeat over time, and more. This is achieved by tapping into a broad range of sensors on your devices, thus giving you a clearer view of your overall health. Although no fitness tracking app is perfect at everything, these are our favorites:
Recommended: Google Fit
Not only is Google Fit the default fitness tracking option on Wear OS smartwatches, it's also one of the most well-rounded solutions in the Android ecosystem. The app uses a unique "move minutes" tracking system that gauges how many complete minutes you're in motion throughout the day. It also marks down "heart points," which account for more rigorous exercises, such as brisk walks, runs, etc.
In addition to these metrics, Fit keeps a log of your steps walked, distance traveled, and calories expended. It also tracks heart rate, weight, and how much sleep you've gotten, though there isn't currently a native way to track sleep quality within Android or Wear OS.
Developed by Azumio — the masterminds behind other popular fitness apps like Instant Heart Rate and Sleep Time — Argus lets users keep track of steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned throughout the day, weight over time, and more. It also includes a simple caloric intake tracker, though it's not as intuitive as the solutions we'll discuss later in this article.
The most appealing aspect of Argus is its flexibility. The app is able to sync with a wide range of fitness services and hardware, including Withings scales, Dexcom glucose meters, the Garmin app, Strava, Google Fit, and many more.
Best running/walking apps for Android and Wear OS
For some exercise enthusiasts, simply tracking daily steps and calories isn't enough. They need a dedicated app that can monitor specific activities like running, walking, or biking. If you fall into this camp, these are the software solutions you're looking for:
Strava is a hybrid app that blends its fitness roots with a unique social media element (something we all could use in the middle of the COVID-19 quarantine), encouraging users to share their activities and progress with other Strava participants.
On the fitness side, the app taps into GPS to map walks/runs, bike rides, and it can even track swims. An included Explore tab helps users find fitness events in their area, user-generated challenges, and more. Users can also set weekly and annual goals to keep them motivated over time.
On the social side, users are encouraged to connect with friends, post content to their activity feeds (à la Facebook), and even compete with one another.
Runner-up: Nike Run Club
On the surface, Nike Run Club is pretty straightforward. Users can tap into their devices' GPS to map their walks/runs, download free guided runs, and partake in long-term coached exercise regimens. There are no tracking features for biking or swimming, but hey, that's why this fitness app is the runner-up on this particular list.
Like Strava, Nike Run Club also includes a unique social media element. Users are encouraged to find friends, compete in weekly or monthly challenges, and earn digital badges for activity achievements.
Honorable mention: Map My Walk / Map My Run
There are so many running apps deserving of an honorable mention that it was nearly impossible to narrow it down. Nevertheless, we settled on the Map My Walk/Run duo by Underarmour. Like the apps before them, these offerings can map and track walks/runs, find nearby user-generated routes, and they also include a friend-based activity feed to keep your buddies up to date on your fitness accomplishments.
Best sleep tracking apps for Android and Wear OS
Six years after Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) debuted at I/O 2014, the platform has yet to adopt a native sleep tracking feature. This will likely change once the Fitbit acquisition goes through, but as we wait, sleep remains vital to overall health. Luckily, your Wear OS watch can still help you understand your sleep habits:
Recommended: Sleep As Android
Sleep As Android is the most prominent third-party sleep tracking app that allows Wear OS users to gather sleep data by wearing their watch to bed. Not only has it garnered a large user base, it has even earned Google's prestigious Editor's choice award.
The app can provide nightly stats on sleep quality, measure sleep trends over time, and it has an alarm feature that can wake users with a gentle vibration on the wrist, and/or with a series of customizable sounds. After gathering enough data, Sleep As Android can also provide a sleep score to let users know how rested they are over time.
Runner-up: Sleep Cycle
Unlike Sleep As Android, Sleep Cycle doesn't have a direct Wear OS component. Instead, it functions by utilizing your phone's built-in microphone and accelerometer to detect movement while sleeping. The app then uses this data to provide nightly sleep quality metrics.
Sleep Cycle's best feature, however, is that it can gauge your sleep cycles and help you wake up during lighter stages of sleep. As a result, you may feel more alert and ready to tackle your morning.
Best food tracking apps for Android and Wear OS
Knowing how many calories you expend in a day is really only important if you know how many you're taking in. A good food tracking app will be able to measure your eating habits against your fitness acumen to determine if you're likely to lose, maintain, or gain weight:
Recommended: My Fitness Pal
For starters, My Fitness Pal contains a robust library of food items (and their associated calorie counts) to help users log their meals every day. Barcodes located on processed foods can be scanned via a smartphone camera to track food, or foods can be searched for and added manually.
Since remembering to log every meal can sometimes be a hassle, My Fitness Pal supports native notification-based reminders to alert users when they've forgotten to mark breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
If you're not sure how to shift your diet toward healthier foods, My Fitness Pal can help you here, too. The app contains a Recipe Discovery section that shows you how to prepare a number of health-conscious meals designed to maintain your caloric goals.
Like some of the other fitness apps featured on this list, My Fitness Pal also contains a social element, encouraging users to connect with friends, post progress to their feeds, and even motivate each other with challenges.
Runner-up: Lose It
Lose It shares many of the same qualities as My Fitness Pal. It has a robust library of food items to log, measurable goals, and a social element to keep users engaged with friends. The app even automatically estimates the number of calories you should consume for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, all based on your calorie budget. However, Lose It's lack of a Wear OS experience and lack of supplemental features easily place this app below My Fitness Pal.
Best mental health apps for Android and Wear OS
Getting fit isn't just about making sure your body's in shape. Mental fitness is also key to overall health. To keep your mind calm, clear, and focused, we've compiled some of our favorite mental health apps below:
Calm employs an atmospheric strategy to help users relax and refocus their minds. Within the app, you can swipe through a number of visual "scenes" that include environmental sounds to center yourself. For added serenity, engage in guided breathing exercises, body stretches, meditation, or unlock masterclasses given by mindfulness experts.
If you're not into the environmental fluff that Calm provides, check out Headspace. This app offers a series of guided meditations tailored to help you manage a variety of hurdles, including life challenges, sleep difficulties, stress and anxiety, and many more.
Honorable mention: Sanvello
Sanvello, formerly known as Pacifica, is designed specifically to help those who live with depression and/or anxiety. Serving as a mental health journal, the app tracks daily mood entries complete with notes as to why the user is feeling the way they do, exercise, sleep, personal thoughts, and more. There is also a guided meditation section to help users relax and better manage their conditions.
Best medication tracking apps for Android and Wear OS
According to Georgetown University, more than 131 million Americans (66% of the US population) are taking prescription drugs. As it turns out, medications are most effective when taken regularly, as prescribed by a physician (go figure). To help you stay on schedule, here are some medication tracking apps you'll want to check out:
Medisafe is pretty straightforward, which is precisely what you want when managing something as important as your prescriptions.
The "medications" tab allows users to input whatever prescriptions or vitamins they take on a regular basis. With regular reminders, the app can issue a notification to take the medicine at whatever time and however often it's required. If the medicine isn't taken within 10 minutes of the first reminder, Medisafe will issue a second reminder, followed by a third notification ten minutes later, ensuring that users don't forget to take or check off their doses.
As an added bonus, Medisafe allows users to keep track of their doctors and which ones prescribed the drugs they are taking. The app also serves up regular weekly adherence reports to let users know how well they're remembering to consistently take their medicines.
Finally, with prescription refill reminders, users can receive a notification whenever they're running low on pills, prompting them to request a refill from their medical provider.
Runner-up: My Therapy
The My Therapy app works in a similar manner as Medisafe, issuing reminders to take medication at specified intervals. The app also has a progress chart that mimics Medisafe's weekly adherence reports. However, My Therapy's lack of refill reminders and no Wear OS app make it a clear second to our recommended prescription tracking solution.
When we originally started putting this series together, the first cases of COVID-19 were just beginning to emerge. No one quite knew the impact this new strain of virus would have on the global community.
As COVID-19 has made its way around the world and driven entire countries indoors, maintaining a fitness regimen may seem like a public health risk. Thankfully, there are many Android apps that can help you stay in shape from the comfort of your own home.
Your physical and mental fitness are important now more than ever. Stay safe and healthy, friends.
If your apps didn't make the list...
Let's face it: there are a ton of fitness apps on the Play Store. If your favorite apps didn't make it into our roundup, that's okay. At the end of the day, getting fit and staying on track is all about choosing the best solutions that work for you. Leave a comment telling us which fitness apps you use and why.
Now that you have your hardware loaded with your favorite fitness apps, your Wear OS watch is going to start to gather a lot of personal information about your health. It will know how much you move in a day, how well your heart is performing, what kind of sleep you get every night, and much more.
In the third installment of our fitness series, we're going to be taking a look at all of this data and deciphering exactly what it means in relation to your overall health. See you in the next one!