Though the nationwide lockdown might mean you're spending more time indoors, that doesn't mean you can't get or stay fit.
There are loads of workout and fitness apps out there. While many are subscription based, you'll be surprised to find just how many are free, or freemium but still offering a generous amount of content before the paywall. Now especially, as people are remain indoors due to Covid-19, more apps are offering their services for free. We've made notes wherever these are available.
So whether you choose to exercise at home or use your daily outdoor time quota to go for a run, these apps will help you stay healthy, active and strong while also giving you the mental boost you need.
If you prefer a workout from YouTube or other websites, check out our best online workouts for kids, teens and families feature.
With original content adapted from Mathilde Vincente, Tech Advisor France.
Strava is a great option for joggers and cyclists who not only want to track their activity, but also want to compete with others on the same routes.
With an integrated social dimension to the app, you can join monthly challenges and post pictures of your jogging route or bike ride.
Its Beacon feature lets you share your location in real time with friends and family too, which might come handy if you're faced with an emergency while on a trek somewhere in the great outdoors.
Access to its basic features is free. The premium version, Strava Summit, costs £49.99/$59.99 per year, or £6.99/US$7.99 per month.
Nike Run Club
The app offers both tracking and coaching features, along with audio-guided runs and audio motivation from celebrity Nike coaches like Mo Farah and Kevin Hart. Apple users can synchronize the app with Apple Health to maximize health insights too (such as ECG details). All this is made more accessible with an intuitive and well designed interface.
Like Strava, you can also participate in weekly or monthly challenges and compete on leaderboards.
Between the tracking, coaching, training with videos, Nike Run Club will be your best ally while preparing for a marathon.
Nike Training Club
Nike Training Club (NTC), on the other hand, replaces your personal trainer by offering more than 185 free workouts. Right now Nike is offering the premium version of the app for free stating, "Enjoy on-demand class-style workouts, programs, and expert tips on nutrition, sleep, and more with free access to NTC Premium to all Nike Members until further notice."
It's free to sign up for Nike Membership.
Once you install and log into the app, you'll need to enter your physical activity level (ours is 0-1 training per week, for example) to get suggestions for different exercise plans. You'll find an impressive variety of workouts once you start browsing.
For example, those who want squats and ab exercises can gain access to strengthening or gain training, among other things. And, for calmer workouts, the app even offers yoga exercises. There are also exercises for small spaces and equipment-free workouts.
Of course, Nike isn't the only heavy-weight when it comes to fitness. Runtastic, owned by Adidas, is a classic for runners – and a slick, easy-to-use app. You can use it to set goals, analyze your progress, and track your rank statistics. Its premium version now has a 90-day free trial for even more personalized plans.
Runtastic is excellent for beginners, with programs that introduce you to the basics of running, exercises to lose weight, or for the brave, tips for preparing for a half-marathon.
The app features a news feed, which reminds us a bit of that of Facebook, which you can use to get in touch with your friends, share progress, and discover the latest trends.
More than a sports app, it is your personal health assistant. It records your activities, meals, water and caffeine consumption and more. It also analyzes your sleep and stress.
Samsung Health is partnered with Babylon health services too, so you can access additional services separately; for instance, you can book video appointments with doctors, manage prescriptions, and check symptoms through the app though additional charges will apply.
Note Samsung Health requires at least Android version 5.0.
7 Minute Workout
Are you looking to stay fit but struggling to find the time? Then 7 Minute Workout is for you.
As obvious as it sounds, this application (for Android) offers 7-minute workouts. These HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) routines consist of certain exercises for 30 seconds each. The app includes an audio coach that guides you throughout, and indicates when to pause and resume. The app includes a calendar too, so you can be diligently organize and keep track of your workouts.
All the exercises use your body weight, so you won't need additional equipment, except perhaps an exercise mat. If you don't know how to perform the exercises, the app comes with explanatory videos too.
Although the interface is quite basic, and the audio coach sounds robotic – similar to that of a GPS – the 7 Minute Workout app is perhaps the easiest way to get started on building an exercise routine at home without feeling like you're investing loads of time.
The classic program is free, however to unlock a specific training plan (abs, glutes, etc.) you will have to pay separately.
5 Minute Yoga Workouts
What could be better than a good yoga session after a long stressful day at work? Similar to the last app, 5 Minutes Yoga Workouts (iOS/Android) provides fast and efficient yoga workouts to perform daily but in achievable chunks of time.
The app is appropriate for all levels, and its simple interface provides images of each poses with text instructions. It also includes a stopwatch so you can keep track of the time.
If you want a more complete version, you can subscribe to the premium version on a monthly (£1.99/US$1.99) or annual (£7.99/$5.99) basis. Subscriptions offer access to all the features and more than 300 exercises, with the possibility of practicing the poses with music.
Go on, go open your chakras with 5 minutes of Yoga!
NHS Fitness Studio
Also don't forget that the NHS Fitness Studio is an invaluable resource for fitness and health content.
While technically not an app, you can find loads of exercise videos for full body and targeted workouts. Its Couch to 5K program also promises to gradually transform you into a marathon runner. Though if you want to try something other than your standard workout or run, you'll also find videos for Vinyasa flow yoga and belly dancing for beginners.