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Tech Review: Apps help you shape up after the holidays

Zombies, Run! costs $2.99 for Apple users and

Zombies, Run! costs $2.99 for Apple users and $3.99 at the Google Play store. Credit: Google Play

The warm glow of the holiday season has been replaced by the cold reality of January. If the numbers on your scale are reflecting a December of nonstop goodies, these apps can gently coax you or forcefully intimidate you to get back in shape.

7 Minute Workout

(iOS, Android; free)

There are several apps for both Android and iOS using the name "7 Minute Workout," based on a regimen from the American College of Sports Medicine. The one tested here is from developer Perigee. This app offers nicely rendered illustrations, making it easy to follow the body-toning program that relies not on expensive equipment but on a person's own weight. Several in-app purchases offer extra workouts, including one featuring a drill-sergeant instructor who ensures you don't backslide.

Zombies, Run!

(iOS, $2.99; Android; $3.99)

If a drill instructor can't get you motivated, maybe the undead can. This combination game and fitness app creatively forces you to run to escape zombies. No, not virtual "running" using a joystick with one hand while eating potato chips with the other, but actual lace-up-the-sneakers exercising. The immersive game uses a clever story line that makes you humanity's last hope, and it knows if you are not physically moving. In-app purchases add several mission packs, ranging in price from $1.99 to $17.99.

Couch to 5K

(iOS, Android; $1.99)

For those whose main December exercise was walking to the refrigerator, this app can get you prepped for longer distances. The goal of the app is to get you in shape to actually run a 5K race. Developers say it should take about 30 minutes three times a week for nine weeks to get you from couch potato to track star. There are several similarly named apps, but the one tested here is from developer Active Network.

Pocket Yoga

(iOS, Android; $2.99)

Looking for an exercise program that is beneficial but not physically demanding? No sweat. Pocket Yoga offers the centuries-old regimen that followers say boosts your physical, emotional and spiritual health. A soothing instructor and easy-to-follow illustrations make this app suitable for beginners and experts.

Tech bytes

Works in progress

The Smithsonian Institution has digitized more than 40,000 works from its Freer and Sackler Galleries and has made the images, which include paintings, ceramics, photographs, metalworks and jewelry, available as free high-resolution downloads (nwsdy .li/smithsonian). The Smithsonian calls it "a great opportunity for scholars and researchers as well as our everyday virtual visitors to have 24/7 access to our works of art." -- PETER KING

Facebook revs up search engine

One of the biggest complaints of Facebook users is the social network's lack of a robust search engine, especially on its mobile apps. In response, Facebook has made it easier for members to find posts that have been shared with them. Facebook Search will now find photos, videos and links by searching for words in the posts, for example "Jim's wedding" or "Betsy's birthday." -- PETER KING

Supporting cast

Google unveiled a service that streams music to home audio players via smartphones. Google Cast works with only Google Cast Ready speakers, which are slated to launch in the spring from brands like Sony, LG and Denon. The launch pits Google against Apple's AirPlay, which streams audio and other content wirelessly from Apple's mobile devices to Apple TV and other AirPlay-enabled devices. -- Los Angeles Times

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