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RSW Living Magazine

This App’s For You - Mobile-device technology inspires, reveals a million exciting possibilities

Jan 01, 2016 12:16PM ● By Kevin

There’s really no excuse anymore to stay cooped indoors, plopped on the couch with one hand on the remote and the other in a bowl of chips. In today’s technology-driven world, there’s a mobile-device application, or app, for pretty much everything, and that includes getting outside, becoming one with nature and green-lighting a fitness lifestyle. There are a few million apps to investigate; Google alone has nearly 1 million. And most of them are free. We’re including a few special apps to explore.

Discover “Ding”

It’s one of Southwest Florida’s more popular destinations. Now everything you love about the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is right at your fingertips. The Discover Ding app is a perfect download before heading to the refuge, allowing users to check gate times, visitor center hours, and even getting a head start on some sight-seeing. There’s also a GPS component, so you’ll know exactly where you are within the refuge. “You can see real-time sightings of what people are seeing at the refuge right now,” explains supervisory ranger Toni Westland.

The best part is you can be a nature photographer, taking and sharing photos of interesting animals and plants snapped with your smartphone or tablet. An immediate wildlife posting, for example, gives others interfacing the app time to get in on the action. “Lots of people,” Westland says, “have phones and lots of people like to share what they’re seeing…if you see something, you can say what it is and where it is, so it’s like little field tips.” Search for “Discover Nature” in the App Store and look for the Ding option.


With SkyView there’s no need to have your head in the clouds―this app does all the work. The app with your phone/tablet aimed at the sky identifies the stars, constellations, galaxies and satellites within the frame. There’s even a feature that sets alerts for certain astronomical events such as the supermoon and eclipses. It’s also a great way to get family and friends involved on social media and to enjoy the grandeur of the night sky.

National Parks Field Guide

The stories behind 100 national parks is right in the palm of your hands with National Parks Field Guide. From Acadia to Zion, this app has you covered when it comes to seeing the best the U.S.A. has to offer. Start off by selecting the park to which you’re heading. One tab lets you see all the animals and plants possibly encountered, which species are poisonous or dangerous. The app also lists endangered wildlife and plants. It is limited by mandatory internet connectivity. 


All food questions are answered with this app. The free version has more than five million foods in its database, allowing you to count calories, protein, fat, sugar and a whole lot more. There’s even a bar-code feature that lets you scan food labels. MyFitnessPal even helps you keep track how many steps you take in a day and how many calories burned from all that walking. 

Slacker Radio

Hit a high note with free music while you’re working out or exploring Mother Nature. Slacker Radio is just what the name implies, doing all the work for you. Slacker gives access to millions of songs and hundreds of music stations. The basic app is free. You can even create custom music stations for the ultimate, individualized experience.


Billed as a personal trainer, SworkIt makes it so the workouts come to you and fit into your schedule. The routines help guide you through exercises with personal-trainer demonstration videos. Got injuries? SworkIt’s trainers have a solution. Users have the ability to create their own custom workouts from a library of more than 160 exercises. From glutes to back to biceps, this app’s got you covered.

Written by Nick Ciletti, a freelance writer for TOTI Media and also a TV journalist for the ABC affiliate in Phoenix, AZ. Previously, he spent three wonderful years in Fort Myers.