Apps for Students

Apps I Wish My Students Would Use

These days, there seems to be a lot of talk about apps for Physical Education. Its totally understandable: mobile devices are bringing in a wide range of opportunities to help enhance both teaching and learning in the gym.

During last week’s #pechat on the role of today’s physical educator, there was a lot of talk about how physical educators are responsible for promoting healthy, active lifestyles.

I know that many of my students have a mobile device at home (be it their own or their parents’). They talk to me about the games they play, the social networks they’re on, the apps they use on a daily basis. Today I would like to share a few apps that I wish they were using outside of school to help them develop healthy, active lifestyle habits.

Nike+ Running

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I know a few of you might not agree with a Nike branded app finding its way onto this list, but the truth is that Nike+ Running is a fantastic app. Being able to track your runs, share them with friends, get cheers, save each session as a journal entry (which includes both notes and a mood tracker), all within a single app is awesome. Also, the fact that the app is beautiful to look doesn’t hurt either. Nike+ has been a big help in getting me motivated to go out and run, and I’m sure it would help do the same for students.

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Lift

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A big part of Physical Education is developing healthy lifestyle habits. Lift helps you do just that. After signing up, you’ll be able to enter different habits that you are trying to develop. On any day where you perform a habit that you are tracking (e.g. do pushups), you can “check in” to the habit through the app (you can also leave a comment on your check in). You’ll then be able to see the most recent “check ins” from other Lift users that are tracking that habit and give them “props” (think of Facebook’s “Like” functionality) or leave comments on their “check in”. The app allows you to visualize your “check ins” over time and alerts you of any streaks you may have going (streaks are when you’ve checked into a habit over consecutive days).

Lift allows you to follow your friends and encourage them as they try to develop healthy habits, and receive encouragement from them as well. Overall, its a great little app that helps us be more mindful of the habits we develop in our lives.

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Thryve

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Thryve is a cool app that takes a different approach to tracking your diet. Instead of focusing on how many calories you are consuming on a daily, Thryve helps you keep track of how balanced and varied your diet is.

The way Thryve works is that it allows you to take a picture of the meals you eat. Once the picture is taken, you enter a title for your meal and type up the main ingredients that were present in it. Thryve will then ask you to select the portion size for each ingredient by using an interactive pie chart slider. The app will then give you a score for your meal and the meal is entered into your Thryve diary. Thryve even reminds you when its has been a while since your last meal and asks how you are feeling.

Thryve allows you to view your day’s nutrition report in pie chart form and even offers recommendations of which food groups you should try to include in the rest of the day’s meals. The app will also help you compare your daily intake (per food group) to both the daily recommended levels and the average of other Thryve users.

I just really like Thryve because it puts less emphasis on strict dieting and more emphasis on overall healthy eating.

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Day One

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Day One is one of my all time favourite apps. It’s a beautifully designed daily journalling app that, in my opinion, blows all of the other diary apps out of the water. Each entry is automatically updated with information such as the location where the entry was made, the date, and even the weather outside. You can include a picture with each entry, if you like, and you can set reminders to remember to write an entry each day.

I consider journalling to be an important tool for mental health. It allows you to reflect on your day, remember to be grateful, and smooth out any thoughts that might be bouncing around in your mind. Because Day One does a perfect job at doing all of this, I figured it should be on this list.

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So that’s my list for now. I really hope these apps find their way onto young people’s mobile devices because they really are great tools when it comes to healthy, active living. I know that there are literally thousands of other apps that could/should have made this list, and I’d love to hear your suggestions for this list in the comments below or click the button to start a conversation on Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

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Joey Feith is the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

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