If getting and staying healthy is one of your top priorities, you aren’t alone. But working physical fitness and good nutrition into a busy schedule can be tough. Some small tweaks to your diet and exercise routine can make a big difference.
The good news is, there’s no shortage of apps that can help. You can load up your favorite devices with tools that help you track your nutrition and monitor your activity levels, giving you the insights you need to make better decisions moving forward. Best of all, simply having the right technology in place can motivate you to stay on track.
While you’re choosing stay-healthy apps, though, don’t forget your mental wellness. If you’re like us, stress is a part of everyday life. The right tools can give you the skills you need to keep your stress levels in check.
To get you started, we’ve pulled together 10 of our favorite wellness apps. These apps will work with your desktop and mobile devices to ensure that you stay on top of things no matter where you are.
Meditation and Mindfulness
In recent years, professionals have gravitated toward meditation as a way to combat stress and boost overall well-being. But taking some time to be present and breathe has benefits beyond mental health. Studies have shown that meditation physically changes the brain, potentially helping you think clearer, retain information longer, and manage physical pain. But you don’t have to take a class or set a full hour aside each day to practice meditation. With the right apps, you can learn to be more mindful in your everyday life and use focused breathing to ease your way through those stressors. Here are some of our favorite meditation and mindfulness apps.
Built for the true beginner, Headspace makes meditation both accessible and easy. If you want to work out, you can choose the app’s Move Mode, which combines mindfulness with exercises that help you reach your cardio and strengthening goals. For guided meditations, you can choose from meditations as short as three minutes and even customize your sessions to meet your goals and preferences.
Headspace offers an annual plan that’s $69.99, which averages out to $5.83 a month. You can try this plan out for 14 days before you’re charged. If you’d prefer a shorter commitment, a monthly plan is available for $12.99 per month, which comes with a 7-day free trial.
By now, you’ve probably heard of Calm, which has become a top app for those seeking relaxation and mindfulness. Your paid membership will get you access to more than 700 guided meditations of varying types and lengths. There’s also a feature called Daily Calm, a 10-minute session that starts with a guided meditation and ends with a mindfulness teaching. There are also Sleep Stories that can help you if you have a tough time drifting off each night.
You can join Calm for free, but you’ll only to be able to access a small number of the total meditations available. To get the Daily Calm, relaxing music, and the entire library of Sleep Stories and meditations, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription, which costs $69.99 a year, after a seven-day trial, or $399.99 for a lifetime membership.
Physical Fitness Apps
Your physical health is an important part of your wellness. It doesn’t just keep you in shape and out of the doctor’s office, but it also helps with your mental health. One study found that just a few minutes of exercise can boost memory, with 60 minutes improving cognitive function for as much as two hours afterward. Here are some apps that can motivate you and help you stay on track with an exercise program.
Step-tracking devices have come a long way since the wearable pedometers of the past. With a Fitbit, you can link up to an app that helps you track what you eat and compare your daily activity output. This allows you to see clearly where you fall on the “exercise more, eat less” weight loss equation. You can use the Fitbit app to find friends and challenge them to up your step count.
The Fitbit app itself is free, but you’ll need a wearable tracker to get the most out of it. Trackers start at $79.95.
If you’re most motivated by the great outdoors, check out this app, which helps you find nearby hiking trails. But it’s not just handy for finding trails. The app also connects you with other hikers and lets you share tips and tricks, or just simply cheer each other on.
You can access AllTrails for free, but a premium membership removes ads and lets you access maps when offline, among other bonuses. You can try out the Pro subscription for free for 14 days, after which point you’ll pay $29.99 a year.
Food and Nutrition
Eating healthy can be an ongoing challenge. With a combination of technology and determination, though, you can improve your health by eating better. The best thing about these apps is that they let you see how what you eat helps you meet daily nutrition recommendations for your age, weight, gender, and activity level. Here are some food-tracking apps to support you as you work toward your goals.
MyFitnessPal is far from the only calorie-tracking app, but it stands out for its extensive food database. You can use the app to scan barcodes or simply input a term and, chances are, the nutritional value has already been logged. You can also log your exercise to keep yourself on track.
All the basic features are free, but a premium subscription gives you advanced tips while also removing ads. The premium price is $9.99 a month or $49.99 per year.
If your goal is to fill your body with all the right nutrients, MyFoodDiary can help. The app gives you a full analysis of your diet, letting you know whether you’re getting the recommended nutrients. You’ll also be motivated to stay on track with feedback, including frowny faces and body and exercise logs.
Unlike other calorie trackers, MyFoodDiary doesn’t have a free version. You’ll get a seven-day trial before paying $9 per month. You can cancel at any time.
LiveStrong, a well-respected fitness resource, offers the MyPlate Calorie Counter, which gives you a place to track what you eat. But what sets this app apart is the built-in LiveStrong expertise, which focuses on helping you make the right choices.
The free version of the LiveStrong calorie counter includes ads. You can upgrade to a pro plan, starting at $9.99 a month, to get advanced features and remove the ads.
If you want help setting goals, Lose It! will be the calorie-tracking app for you. Each day, you’re given guidance on the calorie and nutrient content necessary to meet your goals. The guidance is customized to you to boost your chances of success.
The free version of Lose It! gives you the basic calorie-tracking function, but for personalization, you’ll need to go premium. You’ll pay $39.99 a year for premium, but you can sometimes find it on sale for $29.99.
Music and Playlists
If you unwind with a few carefully selected songs, there’s a reason for that. Research has linked music to decreased anxiety and improved sleep quality and mood. You might find the right combination of music helps you focus and get work done. Best of all, it can help motivate you as you power through your workout. Here are some of our favorite music apps.
With more than 70 million songs and 2.2 million podcasts, Spotify is likely to have whatever song you want. You can build playlists or go with Spotify’s recommendations, which are based on what the algorithms learn about the songs you listen to each day. There’s also a social aspect to Spotify. You can find out what friends are listening to and recommend songs.
If you don’t mind ads and you’re willing to let Spotify randomize your song selections, the free version will be fine. A premium version for $9.99 a month removes ads and lets you listen to any song at any time with just a tap on the screen.
Apple users who already have a catalog of songs may prefer Apple Music, which lets you combine its catalog with the songs in your Apple account. Another area where Apple dominates over other streaming music services is its audio quality. You get Dolby Atmos support to make your songs really pop.
You can currently get three months free, or six months with certain devices. After that, you’ll pay $9.99 per month.
Pulling It All Together
If you’re ready to work toward your health goals, Shift can help. Shift creates a dashboard on your desktop that lets you operate all your favorite apps side by side. You can set up your health apps to work alongside your email accounts, project management tools, communications solutions, and more. Click here to learn more about Shift and see all the supported apps.