Fitness and wellness apps are more popular than ever. These APIs help developers build apps that find the best running routes, track caloric intake, keep users motivated, and more.
•Published: Apr 2, 2021
We ask a lot of our fitness and wellness apps. While some of them log our meals’ macronutrients to keep diets on track, other apps track the pace of our weekend hike. Fitness and wellness apps keep us motivated, connect us with people who share similar fitness goals, and provide us with data such as heart rate, pace, and exercise frequency to improve our workouts, sleep, and overall health.
Consumers around the world are making fitness apps an integral part of their wellness routines. Global downloads of fitness apps increased by nearly 50% in 2020 — likely because in-person gyms and fitness studios were closed for some of the year. The market for app innovation is ripe.
Consider integrating these 14 top fitness and wellness APIs — which include several different types of APIs — into your fitness app to add valuable features and competitive functionality.
Particularly important for apps that track running, cycling, or walking routes, GPS-focused APIs can inform users where they are going and where they have been.
1. Apple MapKit APIs
Apple’s MapKit APIs add maps into an app’s windows and views. They identify places of interest such as cafes, museums, historical markers, and running or cycling routes. MapKit also includes a directions functionality that filters based on different modes of transportation, such as cycling, driving, or walking.
2. Google Maps APIs
Google’s Maps APIs provide fitness app developers with a range of capabilities to give their product a competitive advantage. For example, Google’s Elevation API enables a hiking or running app to calculate elevation gain or loss; the Distance Matrix API provides travel distance and time between origins to destinations.
3. Mapbox API
A rich API and SDK that allows developers to create, design, and optimize maps and navigation. Mapbox APIs can help fitness app users explore new running, hiking, and cycling routes with GPS data. Integrally, Mapbox supports offline map usage so users can still find their way in remote locations.
4. Nutritionix Restaurant Geolocation API
Nutritionix’s Restaurant Geolocation API helps travelers eat better while on the road. It lists nearby restaurant locations that post meals’ nutritional data. Users input their zip code, and the app’s database of over 206K restaurant locations returns results.
Nutritional Tracking APIs
The following APIs help developers incorporate food tracking capabilities into apps by providing macronutrient data on hundreds of thousands of foods and products.
5. Can I Eat It API
Can I Eat It API has over 80,000 products and barcodes in its database to help app users understand the nutritional value of their food. The API supports product search by name, barcode, special diet status (such as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free), allergens, and even tasting notes from a world-renowned food critic.
6. Chomp Food & Nutrition Database API
Whereas other food-focused APIs in this list track the nutritional value of unprocessed foods (think: cheddar cheese, beans, apples, roasted chicken), Chomp’s Food & Nutrition Database API returns the nutritional value of processed/packaged food products. The branded food and beverage data is frequently updated and audited to ensure accuracy in food reporting and tracking.
7. Edamam Nutrition Analysis API
This API is ideal for helping fitness and wellness app users understand the caloric content of recipes. Users submit the full text of recipes (versus laboriously submitting ingredients one by one), and Edamam’s Nutrition Analysis API returns the complete nutrition data.
8. FoodData Central API
A REST API from the USDA, the FoodData Central API accesses FoodData Central — an exhaustive public database of nutrition facts (such as calories, fats, sodium, sugar, etc.) of common foods. FoodData Central API can help app users understand what they’re eating, and fill their nutritional deficiencies.
The API provides two endpoints: the Food Search endpoint, which returns foods that match desired search criteria, and the Food Details endpoint, which returns details on a particular food.
Dataset Integration APIs
These APIs access the vast body of data from popular fitness apps such as Strava, Garmin and Fitbit. Developers can use this anonymized or individual data to build connected apps.
9. Apple HealthKit API
With a user’s permission, integrating the Apple HealthKit API into apps connects health and user data such as weight tracking, step counting, heart rate, and even “mindfulness minutes” that indicate moments of mediation or conscious breathing. Great for connecting devices such as iPhones or Apple Watches.
10. Fitbit App Web API
Designed to help developers build apps for Fitbit’s OS device, the Fitbit Web API includes data from over 20 million active Fitbit users. The API can call biomarkers like heart rate and body fat, as well as sleep activity, exercise, food logs, and more.
11. Garmin Health API
Garmin’s Health API is a scalable REST API that aggregates users’ biometric data, including heart rate, respiration, body composition, pulse-ox, and detailed stress markers. Also cool: Garmin supports a Women’s Health API, which accesses information related to menstrual cycles, and an Activity API, which accesses detailed information such as workout pace, length, and intensities.
12. Human API
Human API integrates data from third-party sources such as labs, medical records from patient portals, wearable devices, and fitness apps to connect health data that lives in a series of disparate systems. Due to the sensitive nature of the type of health data available for integration, Human API is HIPAA compliant.
13. Strava API
Strava’s open API comprises millions of activities per day and trillions of GPS data points. Developers use Strava’s APIs to power fitness and wellness apps that rely on GPS, such as routes and speed. For example, one app that uses Strava’s API is RideAmigos, an app that encourages commuters to use environmentally friendly transportation methods.
14. Under Armour API
Under Armour’s REST APIs access data from the company’s suite of fitness apps, which include MapMyFitness, MapMyRun, MapMyRide, and MapMyWalk. The APIs return data collected by these apps, which range from activity-centered information (think: route, activity type, and heart rate) to social/community data, such as friends, suggested friends, and follows.
Fitness APIs for Competitive App Functionality
The above APIs are shortcuts to create a feature-rich app experience. Whether it be an activity log of a user’s workouts, nutritional information for hundreds of thousands of foods, or GPS heatmapping, integrating datasets allows users to holistically view their fitness and health journey.
Increasingly, users may expect fitness and wellness apps to contain a social component. Community helps users stay motivated, discover recipes and health tips, and find nearby friends who share similar values. Thus, developers should also consider exploring APIs such as activity feed and chat features to help fitness and wellness apps foster niche communities for deeper app engagement.
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