The best fitness apps to help with wellness
In her latest column, Hannah Bullimore examines how apps can hold us accountable to reaching our wellness goals – and shares five of her favourites to download.
By Hannah Bullimore
If you were to take a glance at my mobile phone, you would see a slightly embarrassing number of apps.
You see, there really is an app for everything: from finance to music to fitness to crafts. And I find the world of apps truly satisfying. They make me feel organised, they help me try new things without a big financial burden, and they make wellness accessible from home.
When I think about wellness, there are many things that come to mind: nutrition, physical fitness, meditation, sleeping well. There’s a wealth of information on each aspect of wellness available in books, online and through apps, but getting started can be overwhelming precisely because there’s so much choice.
Luckily, I’ve broken down the five apps that I would recommend to improve all aspects of your wellbeing. Tried and tested over months by yours truly!
I discovered this app during one of the Covid lockdowns. At the time I was solely using yoga for exercise and was looking to explore some other forms of fitness from my lockdown bubble.
Fiit is a truly interactive app offering a range of classes, from cardio to strength to stretching and yoga. What I love about the app is that you can quickly use it on your phone or on your television for that big screen and close-to-real-life experience. It’s also interactive with your Apple watch or other fitness tracker and, depending on your goals, you’ll be given a weekly exercise plan with several classes throughout the week.
I really enjoy the range of classes on this app and the way you can compete with others and your friends. They also offer great discounts for students, teachers and other frontline workers, so it’s worth giving them an email for more information before signing up for a subscription.
Pros: Huge range of classes
Cons: The classes are fast-paced for complete beginners
Cost: 14-day trial available for everyone; £9.99 a month billed yearly
For an all-round wellness app, Feel Better by Deliciously Ella’s Ella Woodward is a fantastic place to go. The app includes recipes, yoga and fitness classes, meditations and articles and a podcast that focuses on a range of health-related topics.
The app is one of my favourites because it includes great healthy recipes, I enjoy the range of fitness classes and it’s affordable.
Anyone looking to improve their general wellness should consider giving this app a try as it has so much to offer.
Pros: A great all-round wellness app
Cons: The fitness classes are short and the recipes are purely plant-based, so might not be for everyone
Cost: £2.33 a month on a yearly plan
MANA LIVING – LIVE BEAUTIFULLY MEMBERSHIP
This website is the brainchild of North East yoga teacher, Vera. The website includes a shortcut to have Mana Living as an app on your phone and includes a range of fitness classes focused on strength and yoga. It also has a range of plant-based recipes, meditations and sound baths.
I really enjoyed the weekly menu that members receive recommending classes and recipes for the week. I also love Vera’s yoga teaching and enjoyed supporting a local businesswoman.
Pros: The website includes all you need to start your wellness journey
Cons: This is a pricey subscription because it is a small business
Cost: 7-day free trial, £19 per month or £170 per year
MY FITNESS PAL
This one was a recommendation from my boyfriend, who explained that it’s a great place to start when improving your nutrition. The app allows you to closely track your macronutrients and calories. The app also includes recipe recommendations and workout routines.
When you set up the app, you’ll input your height, weight, age, sex and how active you are. It will then give you a baseline for your metabolic rate and then depending on your goal (gain, lose or maintain your weight), it will give you a calorie goal.
From there you can scan your food to track your calories and macros. You can also sync your fitness tracker to the app to take into account the calories you have burned while exercising.
Pros: Allows you to track your nutrition in an easy way
Cons: Pricey if you choose to pay, but the free version is great
Cost: Free version available; £15.99 per month, £64.99 per year
Finally, taking care of your mind is the Ten Percent Happier App. I’ve used this app for years and really love how it has evolved over time. The app combines spiritual and scientific approaches to meditation and has a meditation for every occasion – from daily life and the commute to managing times of stress and sleep. I really like that this app takes a no-frills approach to meditation – no breathy voices here!
There are also a series of seminar-style videos on a range of topics to help you develop your meditation practice and build mental resilience. If you’re someone who struggles with sleep, their sleep meditations alone are worth downloading the app for.
While there is a paid subscription option with access to hundreds of meditations, you can also download the app for free and each day a different selection of meditations is available which makes this a great affordable way to learn meditation at home.
Pros: Simple and to the point
Cons: The paid subscription is costly
Cost: £12.99 per month; £97.99 per year
Whatever aspect of wellness you’re looking to explore, there will certainly be an app to help you.
Whether it’s meditation, exercise or cooking from scratch, it’s the small steps to wellness which often have the biggest impact – and apps can hold you hold yourself accountable to reaching your goals.