7 Effective Wellness Apps I Didn't Immediately Delete Off My Phone
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Despite how much time I (apparently) spend perusing apps on my phone, little of said time is spent perusing wellness apps. However, that doesn't mean I don't have them or use a select handful on a semi-routine basis. It's just that Instagram, texting, and navigating my way around L.A. by way of Maps and Waze will always take precedence. (Just being 100% honest!)
Historically speaking, the majority of wellness apps I've downloaded in hopes of managing my stress, lullabying myself to sleep, organizing my workouts, etc., have promptly been deleted within the day or within the week if they're lucky. Either I don't end up using them, they're not user-friendly, they're poorly designed, or they're more time-consuming and complicated than they're worth. After all, aren't apps meant to streamline and encourage accessibility and organization?
Not all wellness apps have proven instantly disposable, though, and I've actually found myself tapping into certain ones way more often than I ever thought I would. Word of mouth has proven helpful, and I would say I discovered all of the best wellness apps currently residing on my phone through friends, via interviews, or while talking to my wellness-minded colleagues. Since they've made a difference in my life (or at least as much of a difference as a mobilized computer program can make), I've rounded up the seven best wellness apps I didn't immediately delete off my phone and that I tell all my friends about. Curious to see which apps made the cut? Keep scrolling!
Meditation can provide many benefits, but prioritizing and perfecting the practice can be time-consuming and frustrating—especially if you run into the daily problem (like me) of not having enough minutes in the day to complete your never-ending to-do list. Reality star turned blogger and wellness junkie Lo Bosworth actually told me about Headspace when I interviewed her a little under a year ago, and I downloaded it almost immediately.
Headspace has been around for a while (since 2010, to be exact) and offers guided meditations you can practice anytime, anywhere. You can choose how long your mediation is, what the focus or goal is, and frankly, it's helped me fall asleep with a more peaceful mindset more often than not.
2. An App for Your Gym
Now, this one may or may not be applicable, but if you belong to a somewhat famous gym or gym chain, it likely has some kind of app to help organize your workouts, check-ins, fitness goals, etc. Personally, I'm a member of Equinox, and its app is one of my most-used on my phone. I can book my favorite workout classes, and since it has a strike system if you cancel your reservation within three hours of class time, having the app has made me so much more accountable when it comes to actually making it to (and through) my workouts.
While it may seem a tad excessive to belong to a gym and ClassPass, both are worthwhile investments for someone like me who loves fitness, enjoys working out, but also gets bored easily. Plus, even though there are actually plenty of Equinox locations around L.A., sometimes having the option of a brand-new workout that I've never tried (but that's just around the corner from wherever I am) is super appealing. You've probably heard of ClassPass by now, but if you haven't, the app essentially tells you the best fitness classes near you. Simply search a class (either a specific studio or type of workout), reserve your spot, and show up! You can start with a free trial and then after a month, you'll have to pay up and select whatever level of membership you want.
Photo:My Flo App
Created by functional nutritionist and women's hormone expert Alisa Vitti, the MyFlo app and period tracker is a godsend for anyone with a vagina. You can track your period (so you know when it's coming, when you're fertile, etc.), track your symptoms throughout the month (the app will find patterns that can point to hormonal imbalances that might be making your period worse than it needs to be), help fix the root cause of said symptoms, notify you when you enter a new phase of your cycle, and sync your calendar with weekly activities (food, exercise, social, etc.) that work best for your body depending on the cycle you're in.
5. Food and Wellness Bloggers
Similar to watching cooking shows, there's something about regularly visiting my favorite foodies and wellness bloggers on their sites and Instagram accounts that just feels comfortable and soothing to the soul. If they happen to have an app, well, that's a full step more delightful. For example, Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella is one of my favorite people to follow (I almost feel like we're friends—it's normal), so downloading her app, which is chock-full of all of her amazing vegan recipes, was a no-brainer.
If you love being outdoors and going on hikes but have no clue how or where to find all the best trails near you, A) you're like me and all my friends, and B) you should definitely become well-acquainted with the AllTrails app. It's your ultimate outdoor guide featuring more than 63,000 trail guides all over with ratings, reviews, photos, and trail difficulty available so you can choose the right path for your mood.
7. Body by Simone
Photo:Body by Simone
An epic collaboration between celebrity trainer and fitness expert Simone De La Rue and celebrity nutritionist Kelly LeVeque, this helpful wellness app blesses you with personalized recommended workouts based on your unique goals, fitness levels, and exercise style. The app allows you to stream live Body by Simone fitness classes from studios located in NYC, L.A. and the UK and helps you stay on track nutritionally with guidance directly from Kelly, featuring plant- or meat-based breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes. It's an easy, convenient, and well-rounded answer if you want to reap the rewards of having a personal trainer and nutritionist sans the dent in your bank account.
More Apps We Love
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Want more info on the latest and greatest wellness apps? Check out some of our other editors' picks below.
Eve empowers you to take control of your menstruation cycle and sex life. The period tracker part of the app predicts when you should expect your next period and your ovulation days. The sex part lets you keep track of when you have sex and any moods or symptoms you may have. Take daily quizzes to improve your sex knowledge. It's compatible with the Health App on the iPhone so you can have all your information synced up.
Self-care app Shine gives you all the tools you need to take care of your mental health every day. The inclusive app provides a self-care strategy tip every day, plus an audio library of meditations, bedtime stories, and calming sounds. You can also feel a part of the community by answering the daily discussion questions and seeing what other people have to say.
The Noom app takes a psychology-based approach to weight loss by evaluating and identifying your thoughts and triggers and coming up with a personalized game plan to adopt healthier habits (like eating better, exercising more, and positive thinking). You'll work with a coach to track your progress and goals, while logging your activity and meals. There's also a community aspect, too, so you can talk to other Noom users about your challenges and wins.
You probably know how it important it is stay hydrated throughout the day, but sometimes life gets really busy and you realize you haven't even had a sip and it's already 6 p.m. WaterMinder helps you track your daily intake throughout the day and remind you when you need to drink more. You can track your progress and earn badges when you meet specific goals.
Liberate is a meditation app designed specifically for the BIPOC community. The subscription-based service offers access to 240-plus meditations and talks that focus on topics such as anxiety and stress, micro-aggressions, internalized racism, grief and loss, sleep, gratitude, and joy. Meditations range from five to 25 minutes long.
You might have seen some relaxing ads with rain sounds introducing the Calm app, and if so, you've caught a glimpse into what the app is like. It provides guided meditations in different lengths of time (from three minutes to 25 minutes) to help you relax, de-stress, and sleep. There are also Sleep Stories, which are adult bedtime stories that can help you catch some z's, too—Matthew McConaughey narrates one. And you can listen to Calm Masterclasses (one is taught by Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert) and do some breathing exercises. This app might be the ultimate form of self-care.
Now you can have a personal trainer without spending a fortune. Aaptiv gives you access to thousands of workouts and programs led by certified trainers. You enter your fitness goals and the app will recommend different workouts for you—you can even filter for duration and music. It's all audio-guided, so you don't have to worry about paying attention to a screen and just do your thing.
Kindara gives you so much insight into your fertility and menstruation cycle—whether you're trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid it. Input information like your basal body temperature (which you can get by purchasing the brand's Wink thermometer), the first day of your period and your level of flow, when you've had sex, and more so you can view detailed and personalized charts. You can also connect with other app users, too, for a support system of sorts.
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It can be hard (and somewhat stressful) to go out to dinner with friends when you're on a specific diet. HealthyOut makes dining out, well, a lot healthier. You can search for restaurants and order recommendations in your neighborhood by filtering for calories, dietary restrictions (like paleo), and more.
This one's an oldie but a goodie. It's easy to log your meals—you can scan bar codes for nutrition facts, import nutritional information from recipes, and even easily log menu items from restaurants. And you can keep track of your exercise and physical activity throughout the day as well. Chart your progress, join the community of users, and share your own journey with friends and family through the app. It's free to download, but if you want a premium subscription it is $9.99/month and $49.99/year.
Some people might need some white noise to get a good night's sleep, so that's where this aptly named app comes in handy. It comes with a variety of sounds and alarms to help you relax, go to sleep, and wake up energized. There are three different versions of the mobile app: Lite, Full, and Pro, each with a different number of audio offerings.
The Breathe app comes with the Apple Watch, and from personal experience, it's the easiest and quickest way to collect yourself throughout the day. You can open the app yourself whenever you need it, but the app will also send you notifications during the day asking you if you want to take a moment for some quick breathing exercises. You can customize how many daily reminders you want and how many breaths you want to take.
Journaling can be a helpful form of self-care, and now with the wonders of technology, you can journal right on your phone with Day One, which can mean you won't have to bring your notebook with you and you can jot down whatever thoughts you have on the go. Add photos, handwritten notes and drawings, and voice memos to your entries. You can create different journals, too—it also syncs with your computer, iPad, and Apple Watch (for voice dictation). You won't have to worry about someone reading your journal (like when your mom read your diary in the seventh grade), you can create a passcode or use biometrics to unlock it.
Use Streaks to help motivate you to take up some good habits, whether it's quitting smoking, reading more, brushing your teeth thoroughly, or staying active. When you complete a task, your streak is extended, but if you don't, you'll have to start over. It also syncs with the Health app on the iPhone so you can easily track your steps, heart rate, and blood pressure. For anyone who thrives off of a challenge, this one turns your healthy goals into a fun game you don't want to lose.
Take your yoga practice with you on the go with the Pocket Yoga app. When you use it, you'll feel like you're in a yoga class because there's a soothing voice guiding you along the way, and video illustrations to show you the poses. It also comes equipped with a pose dictionary so you can master them. You also have the ability to customize your yoga session depending on practice, difficulty level, and duration.
Nike Training Club
No matter your fitness level, the Nike Training Club app has a workout for you—in fact, it has over 185 workouts to choose from created by the brand's master trainers. The app also has curated collections that focus on specific workouts for specific goals (like stronger abs). And there's also a trove of articles on wellness and nutrition, too.
In our opinion, you can never have too many meditation apps—there's one for every person's specific needs and lifestyle. Simple Habit provides five-minute meditation sessions, which are perfect if you've got an exceptionally busy schedule. You can track your progress and select different meditations that are specific to whatever you are going through at the time, whether it's relationship, career, or health problems.
Train with fitness influencers all from your phone with the Plankk app. Choose from a variety of live and on-demand classes—during live classes you can even ask questions in real-time. Track your fitness journey and goals, and join the app's community for some extra motivation.
Natural Cycles has gotten the FDA's stamp of approval as it cleared it as a medical device, classifying it as a form of birth control that is 93% effective with typical use and 98% effective with perfect use. To use it, you'll need to take your temperature in the morning and log it into the app. It will then let you know how fertile you are—a red day means you need to use protection, while a green day means you're not fertile. That being said, the only way to protect against STDs is by using a condom.
Daily Burn Yoga and HIIT Workouts
You might already be familiar with Daily Burn's workout video offerings, but the brand also has two mobile apps: Yoga Workouts and HIIT Workouts. With the yoga app, you'll get access to a personalized yoga routine based on your goals and fitness level, and you'll have a personal yoga instructor guiding you along the way. The HIIT app is similar, with new and challenging workout videos in 10-, 20-, and 30-minute durations. It also can be linked to the Apple Health app to count towards your overall activity goals.
Next up: 17 Fitness Tracking Apps That Will Get You Moving
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.