Keeping your fitness goals with apps and services.

It’s summertime, and that means beach vacations, staying up late, and partying poolside with family and friends – which can also mean a lot of hamburgers, beer, and chips. (Who doesn’t like barbeque on a hot summer day?) These extra calories can make a difference, especially if you aren’t exercising regularly.

Diets and exercise routines can be hard to maintain when you are traveling because you’re not eating your regular home-cooked meals or going to your gym every day. And during the summer season, it’s hard to stick to your diet when you’re on vacation, or even when you’re home with all the festivities, late nights, and poolside barbeques.

This is why it’s a good idea this summer to take advantage of all the online help that’s out there, including using online fitness services and downloading some fitness apps to your phone. Most offer free basic services. The following are some reasons they will help:

Easy to track.

Apps are a great way to track your progress with exercise and diet. They help count your steps, exercise routine, and heart rate. You can set fitness goals, such as number of steps per day or type of workout and how many calories you burn. You can also see how you are doing over time; for instance, if you see that the week you were on vacation you didn’t eat as well, you can make better choices the following week to make up for it.

They offer motivation.

Most fitness and diet apps offer advice and motivational tips as a way to encourage you. UP by Jawbone offers notices if you slack off on exercise or aren’t drinking enough water. It also lets you know when you’ve hit or even surpassed your goals. Some also offer editorial content about beneficial foods and which ones help you to lose weight.

Even if you aren’t working out, you can get your steps in.

Sometimes, it’s hard to squeeze in a run or other exercise routine. But you can try to get your 10,000 steps per day, even if it’s just walking up and down stairs, parking further away from your destination, or taking your dog for a walk in the neighborhood. This is healthy for your heart, and your app can help keep you on track.

You can make better food choices on the go.

Apps can help you track each piece of food you eat to help you make better choices throughout the day. Sometimes, it’s hard to see what we think what we are putting in our bodies (compared to what we actually put in our bodies). Some apps offer choices from restaurant menus and how many calories they are, as well as brand name items from grocery stores, so you can measure more accurately. Others like My Fitness Pal offer progress reminders to encourage better food choices.

Apps are a great way to help you achieve your fitness and diet goals.