Top Ten Apps to Get Outside
Have you ever stepped outside and noticed an instant improvement in your wellbeing? The beneficial effects of spending time in nature on a daily basis are seemingly endless, with improved mood being just one of them. Time spent outdoors every day has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, increase cognitive function, and benefit overall health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their life indoors. The question is, can we use technology to change this and improve the wellbeing of our society as a whole?
The team at Lithios has hand-selected ten applications to make your time outdoors more fun! Whether you’re a plant enthusiast, athlete, stargazer, or somewhere in between, there’s something in this list for you. If you’re ready for some motivation to get into the great outdoors, or if you want to switch up your outdoor activities, keep scrolling for our list of the top ten apps to get outside.
The Top Ten Apps to Get Outside
1. PlantSnap – “A Plant Expert at Your Fingertips”
Curious to find out what type of plant you’re looking at? If you want help identifying a plant, simply snap a photo using PlantSnap and await information about the taxonomy and a full description of the plant, including how to care for it. Or, for those of you who already know the plant name but want to learn more about it, simply type the plant name into the search function to learn more.
Fun Fact: PlantSnap plants a tree for each person who downloads the app and becomes a registered user.
2. Picture Mushroom – “Instantly Identify Mushrooms”
Another user-friendly and fun application to use outdoors is Picture Mushroom. Quickly snap a photo in the app to learn about the fungi you’ve encountered, including a full description and whether it’s edible or highly toxic if touched or ingested. Always use caution when identifying plants and fungi, especially if you intend to consume them. Happy Foraging!
3. AllTrails – “Your Guide to the Outdoors”
AllTrails boasts more than 200K hand-curated trail maps so you can easily find the best trail for you. With the ability to find and save trails for hiking, biking and running and filter based on your experience level, dog-friendly, kid-friendly, or trails with views (just to name a few), exploring nature has never been easier.
4. Strava – “Run, Ride, Swim. Track Your Activity & Map Routes.”
Using Strava, bikers, swimmers and runners have the ability to track key stats such as elevation gained, distance, speed, pace, and calories burned. Users on the Strava app can also compete with other users and participate in Strava’s monthly challenges, making the app a competitive, fun and informative way to get outside.
5. SkyView – “Explore The Universe”
Ever wondered what that bright star is in the sky? With SkyView, users can simply point and scan their smartphone cameras across the sky to identify stars, constellations, and satellites. Discovering distant galaxies and finding your favorite star is easy and intuitive with the SkyView app. SkyView also has a free version called SkyView Lite.
6. Pokémon Go – “Explore and discover Pokémon wherever you are!”
Pokémon Go has been downloaded over 1 Billion times and has been named “Best Mobile Game” by the Game Developers Choice Awards. If you’re a fan of Pokémon, you’ll love getting outside to meet people in the real world who love Pokémon as much as you do! If you’re not already a Pokémon fan, learn more about the Pokémon Go app in our blog here.
7. Merlin Bird ID – “Identify Birds You See & Hear”
Want to know what kind of bird you’re looking at? “Merlin offers four fun ways to identify birds. Answer a few simple questions, upload a photo, record a singing bird, or explore birds in a region.” Merlin is powered by eBird, the world’s largest database of bird sightings, sounds, and photos. Who knows, maybe bird watching will become your new favorite way to spend time outdoors!
8. Map My Run – “Track and Map All Your Workouts”
Boasting a community of over 60 Million athletes, Map My Run is not only a fantastic way to stay inspired, but it’s a great way to get outdoors, and stay on track with your goals. Map My Run integrates with the latest apps along with most wearables, including Apple Health, Apple Watch, Garmin and MyFitnessPal. It’s easy to track your fitness activities with Map My Run — and don’t let the name of the app fool you — you can log over 600 different activities, including: running, cycling, walking, gym workouts, cross training, and yoga.
9. Surfline – “The World’s Top Surf Forecast”
Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or are just starting out in your surfing career, Surfline will meet you where you’re at in your journey. Surfline has been around since 1985 helping surfers catch waves more often. Surfline allows you to view live surf cams from more than 800 breaks around the world, allows you to view wave height, live wind, weather, water temperature and tide, and allows you to plan out future surf adventures. Surfers can even record their activity, allowing them to watch (and rewatch) their best waves and wipeouts.
10. OpenSports – “The Meetup for sports”
This pickup sports app calls themselves “The Meetup for Sports” and “The first all-in-one web and app solution that allows you to manage leagues, tournaments, pickup games, and memberships.” OpenSports is available on web and mobile, and helps athletes to easily manage pick up events, payments, registrations, waitlists and communication. Within OpenSports users can create custom spots and teams, find existing teams, leave team reviews, view upcoming events, and more!
Explore the Great Outdoors
No matter your fitness level, interests or geographical location, there are a plethora of applications that you can use as motivation to get outside or switch up your outdoor routine. Here’s some friendly encouragement to download one of these apps and use it today! Get outside, reap the health benefits, and most importantly, have fun!
Do you have other favorite apps that you use for outdoor activities? We want to know! Tell us here.
Lithios is a web/mobile app development shop located in Raleigh, NC. This is a blog written by one of our guest contributors.