This holiday season be thankful for turkey and a Bit of Exercise [Review]

With Thanksgiving only days away, many of us are thinking about all of the things we’re grateful for. And after eating a lot of turkey, you might be thankful for a Bit of Exercise — and I don’t just mean literally.

There are several different apps available that are designed to track exercise actives like running or walking. While Bit of Exercise covers the basics, it also tracks a cornucopia of other physical activities, such as cross-country skiing, swimming, and even kayaking. Using your iPhone’s built-in GPS, Bit of Exercise tracks distance, speed, and time to help you keep track of your progress. Once completed, the app will display an activity summary in an easy-to-decipher format, complete with graphs and maps. The app boasts an incredible amount of detail.

The stand-out feature, at least for me, is the ability to choose when Bit of Exercise starts tracking my workout. Before a run, I like to get my music going and apps launched before I get down the stairs. Unfortunately this results in most apps tracking the time it takes me to lock my door, descend the two flights of stairs, and get out the door. Instead, I was able to tell the app to start tracking when I left my current location — and thanks to the GPS integration, Bit of Exercise did just that. You can also choose between immediately, manually, after duration, after distance (if you don’t want to include any warm-ups), or when you’ve reached a location. This makes for accurate post-workout reports.

Another noteworthy feature is the app’s ability to know when you’ve stopped moving. Most other apps keep the clock going; Bit of Exercise pauses and resumes when you do. This also makes it hard to cheat the app (Although, why would you?) since you can’t just turn it on and roam around your apartment — believe me, I tried.

The downside to Bit of Exercise is that it can be somewhat overwhelming to casual walkers/runners. Although the interface is pretty basic (considering all of the features crammed in there) but it’s not very clear how to begin a workout. Even after a few days of testing, it still takes me a few wrong taps to get where I want to be. I’d love to see a “start workout” button added to the home screen, which could then prompt further customization based on activity. Of course, if you’re a veteran exercise-app user, then you might be more familiar with all of the settings.

Overall, Bit of Exercise packs a powerful punch. Once you move past the navigation challenge you can really begin to explore all of the app’s capabilities. While I recommend it for turkey-trotters, brisk morning walkers and over-eaters could certainly benefit as well.

[iTunes]

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