Best fitness apps.
photo: iStock

Using technology for healthy living goes far beyond the Facebook-Twitter-Tumblr-Instagram scroll the character Tom Haverford was all about in Parks and Rec. It can truly be a tool for mental and physical health if used frequently and properly.

Among the thousands of apps out there on the iTunes store and Google Play, it’s tough to find ones that fit exactly what you need without getting lost. Here, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites with a focus on health tracking, workouts, nutrition, and mental health for 2015.

 ●     Periscope (iOS and Android)

This app is similar to a Snapchat but allows you to live stream through your phone and subscribers can “scope in” and watch. After just starting to jump on board with Periscope, I’m learning more about how you can use these live feeds for workouts and mental health chats. I’m hoping more fitness coaches, therapists, and trainers use this for the rest of us who want a good workout at home! Check out who I follow for extra motivation, healthy recipes, and general wellness tips!

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●     Strava (iOS and Android)

I’ve always used the tried and true Nike+ since it came with my shoes, but there are so few apps that allow you to use gps tracking for running and biking. Strava takes things a bit further and shares recommended runs through its local feature in major cities via its global community. When I’m on vacation, it’s difficult to plan out a run in advance. This let’s you browse trails and paths to take the stress out of preparation and allows you to focus on the important things, running.

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●     FitStar (iOS)

Football legend Tony Gonzalez and yoga expert Tara Stiles act as personal trainers on your phone with FitStar. You can design a customized and timed workout that gives you the option to give feedback on how you felt after you’ve completed it. FitStar announced earlier this year that it has joined forces with FitBit and will be releasing new products on new platforms soon.

●     SworkIT Lite (iOS and Android)

This app stands for “simply work it” and is great for the novice athlete — and for everyone out there me who can’t afford a personal trainer. It lets you select yoga or strength, cardio, or stretching workouts and takes you step-by-step with a demonstration of each pose or exercise. When you’re finished, it gives you a recap of the amount of calories you’ve burned and the total amount of time you’ve worked out. I like to use this when I’m doing a home workout and to explore more exercises and get motivated. Since it shows you how to do each exercise, it’s less intimidating when you want to try something new.

●     My Fitness Pal (iOS, Android, and Windows)

 Even though this app has been around for years, I’ve not found another database that has as many options as this one. You can log in online or through mobile to keep a food journal and it details the amount of calories consumed. You can also keep track of your physical activity for an overall look at how you’re tracking with weight loss goals.

●    Emojiary (iOS)

I first read about this app in an article featured in The Atlantic. I was working full time at a fast-paced PR firm and pursuing a master’s degree in health communication at the same time. Needless to say I didn’t have a lot of time to keep a journal or consider my mental health and well-being. Since I almost exclusively communicate in emoji’s anyway, this app allowed me to keep a journal without spending too much time on an entry.

Does your list of favorite apps matchup? Comment below with any ones I’ve missed!

Michelle Rivas is a Founding Creator and wellness blogger. When she's not writing for Vivala.com, you can find her at thehealthylatina.com.