Smart Living | Smart Living

Smart Living | 21 Sep 2020

Fight the flab and ‘coronanxiety’ with these healthy living apps

Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, reduce stress, or manage conditions such as diabetes, there’s an app to help you do just that.

There’s nothing like a global health crisis for focusing your mind on your fitness and wellbeing – especially when being out of shape increases your risk of becoming seriously ill.

Covid-19 has galvanised lots of Britons, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, into taking action to improve their health.

But with social distancing still very much a part of everyday life, exercising has become a more solitary pursuit, with online cheerleaders like Joe Wicks encouraging us to keep fit in our living rooms.

Fortunately, whether you want to lose weight, tone up, reduce stress, or manage conditions such as diabetes, there’s an app to help you do just that.

So grab your phone and check out some of these top fitness and healthy living apps.

Get fit for free

You don’t have to splash out on a monthly subscription to get access to app-based workouts.

Nike Training Club

From yoga flows to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions, you can now do all of Nike Training Club’s five-to-60-minute workouts for free.

Screengrabs from Nike Training Club app

Credits: Nike


The app also includes nutrition tips and wellness guidance, although it’s worth pointing out that many of its workouts require some equipment, such as weights.

30-day Fitness Challenge

Choose your level – from beginner to pro – and get started on a month-long challenge that aims to improve your fitness via daily video tutorial sessions.

There’s lots available for free, plus a premium version costing from £1.99 per week.

Improve your diet

If your goal is to lose weight, there are lots of apps designed to help you eat more healthily.


Calorie-counting app MyFitnessPal, which comes in free and premium varieties, carries a database of millions of foods.

The app, which can be used with fitness-tracking apps such as Fitbit or Strava, starts by asking you a few questions about yourself, such as your date of birth and your height and weight.

Healthy salad meal

Credits: Shutterstock

It then sets you a daily calorie intake, based on whether you want to lose, gain, or maintain weight.


With ShopWell, you can build a food profile based on your personal needs, goals, and lifestyle; then scan the food you’re considering buying to see if it fits.

The free app gives each product a score of between one and 100 based on your gender, age, and dietary preferences, and suggests better alternatives if there are some.

Get a handle on your health

Worried about your physical or your mental health? An app could help you feel more in control.


Lark is often offered for free via employee benefits programmes, but you can also download it for free through the App Store then subscribe to a range of upgrades starting from around £10 a month.

Its standout feature is a range of specialist programmes for people with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, as well as a plan for people concerned about developing diabetes.

My Possible Self

Designed to reduce stress, tackle anxiety, and improve your mood, My Possible Self recommends content based on your answers to a short survey.

The free version includes a daily mood tracker and a “Building happiness and wellbeing” learning module.

To access the other modules, the cost is currently £5.99 a month, or £59.99 a year.

Make a lasting lifestyle change

An all-rounder app that offers nutritional and fitness advice could be the key to developing healthier habits.


Freeletics is a popular workout app that adapts to your fitness goals.

Opt for the free version, and you’ll get access to more than 900 workouts of between 10 and 25 minutes.

Athletic man sitting crosslegged on floor listening to smartphone

Credits: Freeletics

But pay £2.66 a week for The Coach, and you’ll get your own “digital personal trainer” to modify your training programme and provide nutritional information based on your progress.


With workouts, meditation sessions, and a complete meal planner for £15.49 a month, this app from Hollywood actor Chris Hemsworth and his team promises a total overhaul of your approach to eating and exercising.

The dietician-approved breakfast, lunch, and dinner options come with auto-generated shopping lists and can be swapped to meet your tastes.

Work on your wellness

Keep stress and anxiety at bay with an app that targets your overall wellbeing.


With users in more than 190 countries, meditation app Headspace appears to be well on the way to achieving its mission of “improving health and happiness” around the world.

The brainchild of former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, it invites users to take 10 minutes a day to clear their minds via guided meditation sessions.

Try it for free, then subscribe for £9.99 a month or £44.99 a year if you like it.

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle aims to help you feel better rested by waking you up during your lightest sleep phase.

It does this by tracking your sleep patterns to start a 30-minute “wake up phase” that ensures you’re up when you need to be, but without being startled out of deep sleep by an aggressive alarm.

You can use it for free, or upgrade to the premium version for £24.99 a year.

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