Since our mental health is connected to our physical well-being, these FREE fitness apps will help motivate you whether or not you are avoiding the gym at home or hotel gyms when you are on the road.
These free fitness apps offer at-home exercises including yoga, measure your walks and hikes, and meditation to help you sleep more restfully when day is done.
Unless otherwise noted, they are all available on both iOS and Android, and several also coordinate with your health and fitness wearables.
Best Free Apps for Walks and Hikes
I’ve been using the free version for more than a year now, and love it. The app tracks steps, calories, miles and time, and shows you a week at a time.
You can set your daily goal – 5,000 steps or 10,000 steps, or anything in between – and the app tells you how close you get. There’s no judgment – just numbers. Except there’s a reassuring and congratulatory “ding” when you hit your daily goal.
There’s also a paid version with additional features, including integrating with your heart and blood pressure monitor or app and your fitness wearables.
This free fitness app does more than merely motivate. It also will help you find your way back home if you wander off your regular route.
The app shows you a map of the area and marks your route for you. Plus, it keeps track of elapsed time, distance, speed, elevation and calories burned.
It can integrate with Fitbit and other apps.
This app also maps your walk, with an emphasis on hiking trails. It locates nearby trails, and is a great tool to find trails in an area you’re visiting away from home.
So it’s an app for motivation, as well as for discovery.
AllTrails has partnered with the West Virginia Department of Tourism to get visitors to enjoy the state’s 1,500 miles of hiking trails, including in the newest US National Park, the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve.
Read my article on the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve
- Download Wikiloc Outdoor Navigation GPS for detailed trail maps when you are off the grid somewhere without internet, or if you just want to save your phone battery.
Best Free Workout Apps
Wakeout! Active Breaks
This one combines short, simple, fun workouts with household items and furniture. For example –
- Do curls in your kitchen with two cartons of milk.
- Use a chair as a ballet barre.
- Do sit-ups holding a can of beans or coffee instead of the yoga block you don’t own.
It’s a fun app that will give you even more ideas for using ordinary items around the house. Plus, it includes instructions for foot massages.
There’s also a version specifically for kids.
- Wakeout! was named one of the 20 best Apple apps of 2020
7 Minute Workout
This free fitness app guides you to brief, healthy workouts. Choose from general workouts, power butt workouts, power chest workouts, etc.
There’s also a feature to compare – or compete – with friends. Virtually, of course.
Map My Fitness by Under Armour
This app from the athletic clothing company lets you choose from preset workouts or create your own workouts via a library of more than 800 moves. But that’s just the start.
This comprehensive app also tracks your weight/set/rep progress, and share it with others. It also syncs with most fitness wearables and connects to MyFitnessPal, so even if you aren’t training for a marathon or the Olympics, you can combine multiple data points for a comprehensive look at your stats.
It also syncs with Under Armour running shoes, to track such details as the length of your stride, elevation and more.
Nike Training Club
There are more than 200 workouts ranging from 15-60 minutes, focusing on everything from bodyweight-only to full-equipment workouts for everyone at all fitness levels.
Multi-week programs include a prescribed series of workouts, nutrition tips, and wellness guidance to help you build healthy habits and see results that last.
Each program is led by a Nike Master Trainer and is designed to be flexible enough to fit into your busy life.
Planet Fitness offers dozens of FREE on-demand workouts for adults, and specialized programs for teens 14-19.
Workouts range from running to core strength and yoga, and there’s an activity tracker to monitor your progress.
Best Free Yoga Apps
Yoga for Beginners
Exactly what its name says – this app is for beginners who need expert guidance with Downward Dog and Warrior Pose.
Workouts are divided into three types of yoga: vinyasa, hatha, and restorative.
Each video guides you through the poses and breath work to help you learn and develop your practice. iOS only.
Down Dog Yoga
This is for more experienced yoga enthusiasts. It lets you specify the parameters of your yoga practice, including type of practice, level, length and more.
Then it puts together a video for you. This way you’re not just watching the same video every day.
Best Free Meditation Apps
This meditation app is the perfect antidote to a stressful day, when you need some TLC to fall asleep. There are hundreds of short recordings to help you sleep, and to deal with anxiety and stress.
Because we all know that when you sleep better you feel better the next day.
This article was published originally on Evelyn Kanter’s other website, NYC on the Cheap, which was hacked, held for ransom and destroyed in Feb. 2022. It has been updated and is republished here periodically.
Evelyn Kanter is a native New Yorker who has written for the NY Times, NY Daily News, NY Post, New York Magazine, and is a former on-air reporter for WCBS Newsradio 88 and WABC-TV Eyewitness News.
Evelyn Kanter also is the author of several NYC and Hudson Valley guidebooks, including my latest, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die.
Purchase autographed copies by emailing email@example.com
Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a former Board member of the Society of American Travel Writers.
(C) Copyright Evelyn Kanter, all rights reserved.
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