Fitness apps: 24 that actually work to boost both your physical and mental health

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  • FYI, loads of them are totally free, too.

    Fun fact: there are 444,000,000 results for ‘fitness apps’ on Google. That’s nearly half a billion. Just let that sink in for a second.

    Plus, new data from Sensor Tower shows from January to November last year, around 2.5 billion health and fitness apps were downloaded globally — a 47% increase from the same period in 2019.

    It’s fair to say then, that knowing which fitness apps are best for you – and, well, you know, the ones actually worth downloading –  can be rather confusing.

    First things first: work out exactly what you’ll be using your apps for. There are fitness apps for everything, from running, to cycling, to HIIT, to strength, to Pilates, to yoga and more.

    If you’re a keen runner looking to track your mileage, you’ll want to skip straight to our running apps section and download Strava, the Nike Run Club app or Couch to 5k, dependant on your ability. For guidance on the best apps for spicy HIIT sessions, scroll for our pick of the best apps for getting a sweat on (we’re looking at you, Joe Wicks and FIIT). And, of course, there’s the best apps for strength work – hi, SWEAT and Shreddy – and apps for mental strength, like Calm and Headspace, too.

    We bought you the best mental health apps and the best sex apps. Next up? Scroll for our health ed’s top picks (trust me – I’ve tried the lot).

    24 best fitness apps to download now

    Best running and cycling apps

    1. Strava

    Offers run, ride and walk tracking and training – like Facebook but for runners and cyclists, and the simplest way to track your runs and mileage.

    Cost: Free

    2. Nike Run Club

    Similarly, the Nike Run Club is a run tracker which also offers handy coaching guides from top Nike PT’s, too.

    Cost: Free

    3. Adidas Runtastic Running App

    Looking to beat your PB for a 5k, 10k or even marathon distance? Try the Adidas Runtastic app – there’s loads of training guides available totally free of charge.

    Cost: Free

    4. Couch to 5k

    You’ll all likely have heard of the C25K app, which had its most downloads ever during the first UK lockdown last year. Designed by the NHS, it’s the easiest way to build up your running fitness as a total beginner, offering run-walks for a month until you’re capable of running a 5km distance without stopping. Go, go, go.

    Cost: Free

    5. Openfit

    Like the idea of a PT but not quite ready to part ways with £50 to £60 a session? Openfit is a good middle ground. You can tune in to live running classes with real time feedback and personal coaching. Calling itself a ‘PT in your pocket’, Openfit promises to take what’s so powerful about small-group studio fitness and makes it available to everyone, at home, on demand. ‘

    Cost: Three months subscription £37.99.

    6. Fitbit Coach

    For Fitbit users, this app is designed to offer personalised workouts and plans based on your activity levels.

    Cost: Free

    7. Zwift Companion

    Take your cycling and run training up a level with Zwift, which offers tailored workouts through their virtual world, including their oldest course, ‘Watopia’.

    Cost: Zwift Run is free, but the computer and cycling offering is £12.99 a month.

    8. Under Armour’s Map My Run

    If you’ve got a pair of UA shoes, fun fact: Map My Run will connect to your trainers to offer you all the stats you could ever need from your run. Think cadence, gait analysis and more.

    Cost: Free.

    Best meditation apps

    9. Calm

    Calm is, simply put, the best app you can download for guided meditations. They also have sleep stories from the likes of Harry Styles and Matthew McConaughey – need we say more?

    Cost: Free, but premium costs £29.99 a year.

    10. Breathwrk

    Download the Breathwrk app to learn how to harness the power of breathwork. Be guided through breathing exercises for anxiety, sleep, energy and more.

    Cost: Free.

    11. Headspace

    Another one of the best meditation apps to have on your radar is Headspace, which again, you’ll likely have heard of. It’s designed to help you sleep better, stress less and relax more.

    Cost: Free, or £9.99 a month for a premium subscription.

    Best yoga apps

    12. At Home With Sarah

    Ok, ok, so not technically an app, but yoga instructor Sarah Malcolm has just launched her online platform, At Home with Sarah, which offers yoga flows, stretches, guided meditations, and more.

    Cost: Seven day free trial, £22 a month from then.

    13. Alo Moves

    For unlimited yoga, fitness, and mindfulness classes from expert instructors, opt for Alo Moves. They’ll personalise your classes to fit your lifestyle, whether you’re looking to build strength, increase flexibility, relieve stress, or learn a new skill.

    Cost: Two weeks free trial and £20 a month after that.

    14. Gaia TV Conscious Media

    One of the best fitness apps you can download for easy-to-use mind, body and meditation videos.

    Cost: £8.99 a month.

    Best Pilates apps

    15. Lottie Murphy Studio

    Again, not an app, but one of the best platforms currently available for Pilates flows, videos and workouts.

    Cost: £19.99 a month.

    16. Glo Yoga and Meditation App

    Another great app option for daily yoga, meditation and Pilates is Glo, an app designed to help you feel better in both body and mind. There are class options for every fitness level, beginners to pro.

    Cost: Free trial, then £18 per month.

    Best HIIT apps

    17. The Body Coach

    You all know Joe Wicks, king of HIIT workouts. If our round up of the best Joe Wicks YouTube workouts aren’t enough, do download his app. His 90 day plan lets you train live with Joe and enjoy a tailored meal plan, too.

    Cost: Pay £89.99 a year.

    18. FIIT

    FIIT has it all – strength, cardio, HIIT, Pilates and yoga workouts at 10, 25, 45 and 60 minutes long from a whole range of personal trainers and fitness coaches. Sweat with Gabby Allen, Fearne Cotton, Adrienne Herbert and more. Oh, and it’s the number one rated home fitness app available on the App store, too.

    Cost: Free 14 day trial and then £10 a month.

    19. Beachbody On Demand

    2.4 million global members use Beachbody, and we can see why: for £99 a year, you can access thousands of workouts (that’s a lot) from any device.

    Sweat through trainer Shaun T’s legendary Insanity or choose from HIIT, strength, pre and post natal, barre, PiYo, MMA and Tai Chi workouts. There’s something for everyone.

    Cost: Membership starts at £59.84 for 3 months. Annual £99. Free 14 day trial for all.

    Best strength training apps

    20. SWEAT

    PT Kayla Itsines is the queen of strength training, and her app is loved by women world wide. Offering bitesize workouts from 10 to 25 minutes for all abilities, whether you’re keen to workout at bodyweight or higher.

    Cost: Free trial and then £14.99 a month.

    21. Beyond App

    New on the fitness app scene is the Beyond app from PT Meggan Grubb, promising to offer HIIT and strength workouts, meal plans, happiness mantras for a positive mindset and more.

    Cost: Free seven day trial and then £9.99 a month.

    22. SHREDDY

    It calls itself ‘the personal trainer that goes everywhere with you’, and that it is. This handy, simple-to-use fitness app from Grace Beverley. Download for access to high-energy workouts, real-time classes and healthy meal plans, too.

    Cost: Free trial and £9.99 thereafter.

    Best pregnant, pre and post natal fitness apps

    23. Jennis

    Expertly designed by Jess and her physio team, her app offers trimester specific workouts for during and after pregnancy. Know you’re in safe hands with some of the best experts in the business.

    Cost: Free trial and then £14.99 a month.

    Best hiking apps

    24. AllTrails Hike, Run & Cycle

    You could use our guide to the best UK hiking trails, or, you could download AllTrails, the best fitness app to help you with GPS hiking, walking, and biking trail maps. Get outside moving – and make sure you’ve got this app downloaded, when you do.

    Cost: Free, or premium is £2.5o a month.

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