We often view mobile apps as tools to help us complete various tasks, but they can do more than that. Some have the potential to pull us outdoors and push us to live more active lives. This helps us spend our time better, resulting in a better quality of health and richer day-to-day experience.
Here are four Android apps that encourage us to do more than sit on our backsides and stare at the screen.
Daylight wants you to get off the couch, step outside, and absorb some of the sun's rays. How does it go about doing this? By utilizing peer pressure and resorting to good old-fashioned nagging!
The app will send you a notification when you've been inside for a set amount of time or when the weather is nice, prompting you to go take a walk or find some other outdoor activity.
It displays how many hours you've been indoors and outdoors, so you know how guilty or proud to feel at any given time. It can also notify you when friends are nearby, so you can all hang out and rack up that outdoor time together.
Ingress is a video game that considers the real world its environment. In it a mysterious energy has been discovered, and there are two ways to approach the resource. One team, the Enlightened, wants to harness the power this energy may contain. The other, the Resistance, wants to preserve what's left of our humanity.
Regardless of which side you're on, the game consists of moving around the real world in search of this energy source, acquiring items tucked away inside physical locations, capturing territory, and allying with other players.
Ingress may attract some funny looks, and you will need to exercise judgment if the game asks you to go into an unsafe or off-limits location, but it's one way gamers can get moving without giving up the thrill of virtual stimulation.
3. Field Trip
Field Trip can help you see the place where you live in a whole new way. The app's goal is to point out captivating nearby locations so that you will go out and explore. You can get to know the history of a place by catching up on historical markers, checking out places known for their cuisine, or getting deeply immersed in breath-taking architecture.
Notification settings let you set Field Trip to send an alert whenever something compelling is nearby, or you can tell it to be silent and only present information when you pull it up. Either way, it's a great tour guide that you can turn to for free any day of the week.
Cardiograph keeps up with your heart rate and saves this information so that you can compare how your beats per minute fluctuates with various activities. The goal here obviously isn't to get the highest number you can, even if that runs counter to how most apps seem to function these days.
Instead, you can use this information to tell when you're stressed out or when you've started to calm back down. It can also help if you have a heart condition. The app relies on your smartphone camera, but it can also work with Android Wear devices equipped with a heart rate sensor.
All four of these apps offer different ways to get you up and about. One explicitly pushes you to go outside just for the sake of leaving the house, while others simply provide you with things to do that require venturing out. The last app on this list is most useful when you're doing something that will get the blood flowing and your heart pumping.
Whichever approach you take, all that matters is that you stay active. It's one of the healthiest long-term decisions you can make, both physically and emotionally.