A personal trainer in your pocket

Smartphones put a world of fitness tips within easy reach these holidays, writes Nick Galvin.

Along with your passport, credit cards and camera, a smartphone (and charger) is rapidly becoming one of the essential pieces of kit to pack when heading off on holiday.

And there are plenty of apps you should consider installing to make your trip smoother and more enjoyable. Here's our pick of the best apps to help you stay fit and healthy while you're travelling.

iOS, Android, free

Runkeeper is still the best run-tracking app out there. No matter what part of the world you happen to be in, Runkeeper will log every last metre of your regular five- or 10-kilometre morning run. And, even better, you can upload the map directly to Facebook, allowing your friends to see that you have been working out along the banks of the Seine or the paths of Central Park.

iOS, free

Yeah, yeah, you would love to keep fit while you're on holiday but it's too difficult to get to the gym. With Gym to Go you've lost your last excuse for not exercising while travelling. It's a simple app with instructions for a set of effective exercises developed for submariners in the US Navy. You'll need to pack a set of resistance bands to do the workout.


iOS, Android, 99¢

This is another gym-free fitness app that uses nothing but the weight of your own body to provide the resistance. High-quality photos and good descriptions make this one a winner for the times when there is no exercise equipment on hand. There is even a timer to keep you up to the mark. You'll have to BYO motivation.

  • Jet Lag Fighter

iOS, $1.99

Jet lag sucks. Not only does it make you feel cruddy but it also robs you of valuable holiday time. This app from Virgin Atlantic will help minimise your disoriented post-flight downtime. Enter some details about you and your trip and Jet Lag Fighter will deliver a personal prescription for when you should be eating, exercising and exposing yourself to light so as best to reset your body clock.

iOS, free

Not to dwell too much on the negatives of seeing the world, but a lot can go wrong when you're away from home. Fit2travel suggests the vaccinations you should consider based on where you are going, as well as a scary list of all the diseases you could be exposed to. There is also a lot of other useful information about staying well on holiday.

iOS, free

Unless you are one of the privileged few who turn left on entering a plane, you're likely to end up spending a lot of time shoe-horned into an economy-class seat with all the attendant risks of deep-vein thrombosis. This simple app has instructions for a list of exercises that will make you look like a dork but could just save your life.

iOS, free

How do you tell a German doctor what your blood group is? What's Spanish for ''I have insurance, please save my life''? Input all your vital health information into this handy app and it can be displayed in seven languages. There is also the option to protect all or some of your information with a PIN.

iOS, $2.99

While there is no substitute for decent first-aid training, this information-packed app might just get you out of a tight spot when you are away from home and have to rely on your own resources to help yourself or someone else. The instructions are short and to the point - just what you need in an emergency.

iOS, Android, BlackBerry, free

Sure, we get the whole ''I'm on holiday therefore I can eat what I like'' thing, but porking up big time while you're travelling only means coming back to food reality with a bump once you return. This is a top-quality calorie-counting app with a huge database of food included. Chances are, wherever you are in the world the food you are eating will be listed in here.

iOS, 99¢

If you are on a regular medication routine, even just contraceptives, it's easy to forget what to take and when while you are travelling, especially through multiple time zones. Pill Reminder Pro takes the troublesome guesswork out of which pill to pop by sending a push notification for each of your medications when they are due.