Phone apps have seriously changed the world we live in. From connecting with friends, to ordering dinner, to shopping online, to taking better photos, to tracking flights, to wasting time… there’s an app for pretty much any situation you’re ever likely to encounter. But how do you know which apps are worth your time, and which ones you should steer clear of? Well, when it comes to health and fitness apps at least, I can help you out. I’ve downloaded and used a bunch of them in my time – both paid and free – and today I’m showcasing the six that are on highest rotation on my phone.
1. Stretch HD – free, with in-app purchases – iOS + Android
Stretch HD is a comprehensive video stretching app, developed by an Australian physio and intended for use by the general public. It includes a complete range of stretches for every part of your body, each with professionally filmed video and clear instructions and information. There’s also free bonus content including the theory behind stretching, advice on posture, suggested routines for specific scenarios (i.e flights) and more.
In-app purchases include the ability to search by area (you just tap on the area of your body that’s hurting!), stretch routines for specific sports and postural advice.
Full disclosure – my genius boyfriend developed this one while working as a sports physio. But before you question the possibility of bias, it’s known to be the leading cross-platform stretching app and I’ve found it recommended on lists across the web. So there.
2. Sleep Cycle – free, with in-app purchases – iOS and Android
This one is pretty cool! You just sit it on your bedside table or the corner of your bed and it wakes you up within a 30-minute block of time you set. It tracks your sleep patterns via sound analysis and wakes you up during a light sleep, which helps you to feel more rested.
In-app purchases include tracking your heart rate, your mood upon waking, sleep notes and the ability to back everything up online.
3. Yoga Studio – $5.99 – iOS only
I LOVE this app, and I’m definitely not the only one – it’s the #1 yoga app for iPhone! My favourite thing about it is that you can dictate how long you want your class to be – time is so precious that 90-minute in-studio classes just aren’t even on my radar. Only have 10 minutes? There’s a class for that! Have an hour to spare? There’s a class for that too. The search functionality is great, and you can choose whether to focus on relaxation, strength, balance or a combination of them all. You can also schedule classes and have them sync with your calendar… so there’s no escaping the commitment!
4. Tabata Stopwatch Pro – free (can buy an all-inclusive upgrade for $10.99) iOS + Android
Tabata workouts are on high rotation in my life, and I love to throw them into my group sessions too. This isn’t the prettiest app going around, but it’s free, easy to read and it does what it says it will do. You can change the interval and rest times, number of cycles, add in a warm-up and cool down and even sync music (although this makes it more difficult to hear the voice cues). I’ve tried a few of the more complicated interval timer apps but I keep going back to this one.
5. Headspace Take 10 – free, with in-app upgrades – iOS + Android
Meditation is known to help you gain focus and clarity, stress less, smile more and be in the moment. Take 10 is level one of Headspace’s Meditation Foundation Course, offering 10 x 10-minute meditation activities geared towards beginners. There’s a personalised progress page to track your stats and some gentle reminders to keep you on track. If you’ve ever considered meditation – even for a moment – then I recommend you try this app.
Sidenote: The first three times I used Headspace I did it before bedtime and was asleep less than five minutes into the meditation… maybe not the ideal outcome for the designers, but hey – I slept well and woke rested, so I’m calling it a win.
6. Zova – Free, with in-app purchases – iOS onlyZova is a (relatively) new Australian offering that has seriously taken the App Store by storm, voted an App Store Best of 2015. It offers a variety of workouts across styles including circuit, strength, HIIT and even yoga, and you can download workouts directly to your iPhone to use later. Great if you’re stuck in a rut, need some motivation or are unable to get to a gym or training group.
Let me know if there are any other apps you’re loving…
and have a f-app-ulous weekend! (sorry).