Maintaining a balanced lifestyle can be a big task without a little support. Luckily, the world of apps is here to offer a wide variety of aids that can make your healthy lifestyle a little easier to achieve.
To help you ration out that coveted iPhone storage space, we’ve sorted through the best health and wellness apps that topped the charts this year and narrowed down our favourite options for 2020. Read on for our highest-rated apps in the realm of sleep, exercise, consistency, mindfulness and women’s health.
Improve your mornings with Sleep Cycle
Why is it that some days we wake up before our alarm clock and feel well rested, while others feel like we’ve physically had to drag ourselves out of bed? It may be as simple as having been in the right or the wrong stage of sleep at the point when it was time to get up that day.
To improve your chances of a better morning, Sleep Cycle has created an alarm clock app that identifies your sleep patterns throughout the night and uses those to help you wake up fresh and rested the next morning. Simply set a timeframe within the app for when you’d like to be up (ie. between 6:15am and 6:45am) and it will gently coax you awake once you’ve hit your lightest stage of sleep within that period.
Another bonus? Sleep Cycle uses just the microphone and accelerometer in your phone to track your sleep so there’s no need to wear a smart watch or tracking device to bed.
Cost: FREE (with Premium options including sleep aids and snore detection)
Take up running with Couch to 5K Runner
Running is a high-impact activity and doing too much too soon can be tough on the weight-bearing joints of your body. If you’re new to running and don’t know where to start, it’s always a good idea to follow a simple, gradual plan that helps you avoid injury and progress your runs at the right pace for your body.
A great program that offers just that is the Couch to 5K Runner app. Presenting an 8-week learn-to-run program for beginners, the app guides you through three 30-minute runs a week that get progressively more challenging as you build up your stamina and strength.
The app takes the guess-work out of pacing by telling you when to walk and when to run, includes an integrated music player and maps your route, tells you how far you’ve travelled and how many calories you’ve burned. It also gives you the option to customize the plan to your abilities by purchasing the optimized plan.
Cost: FREE for a 4-day basic plan or $13.99 for lifetime access to an optimized plan
Form healthy habits with Streaks
Oftentimes it takes far more than just willpower to build healthy habits that last, and that’s where creating a plan of accountability comes in.
More than just a task management tool, the Streaks app allows you to input up to 12 tasks that you want to consistently accomplish then lays them out in a format that encourages you to build a streak of consecutive days. Not only can you use the app to build good habits, it also offers negative tasks to help you be more effective in breaking bad ones.
Choose your colour scheme, select your tasks then start checking them off. You can even connect the app to the Health settings on your iPhone to auto-check tasks like step and stair goals, and set up reminders to keep you on track for the rest.
Available on iOS
Become more mindful with Headspace
Maintaining good mental health is a major piece of the happiness puzzle and practicing mindfulness is one way to help balance the stresses of work, health and relationships.
To help make it easier to regularly nurture a healthier mind, the Headspace app offers hundreds of mindfulness exercises and guided meditations on subjects like focus, anxiety, exercise, sleep and stress. Not only is the narrator, Andy, a dream to listen to, the meditations are easy to follow and created in such a way as to be a great fit for both the experienced meditator as well as those new to the practice.
Most meditations offer the option for you to choose its duration (ie. one meditation may offer a 3, 5 or 10 minute option) and are often paired with a short video to help you understand the concept at hand and learn different techniques.
Cost: $7.99 per month on an annual plan
Track your cycle with Flo
Understanding your body is a key component of good health – and that’s especially true for women and their menstrual cycle. By learning how your physical and mental states can vary based on the hormones being produced throughout your cycle, you gain more insight into why you may be feeling a certain way at any point in the month and can even begin to predict the onset of these changes over time.
To help track your cycle, the Flo app offers a period tracker and ovulation calendar where you can log the symptoms and activities you experienced each day throughout the month. The more you input, the smarter the app gets, and even uses AI to make predictions of your upcoming period, PMS and ovulation dates.
Flo also offers daily health insights as well as a pregnancy and post-pregnancy mode to help those who are expecting to track your baby’s development and offer guidance surrounding the essentials of being a parent.
Cost: FREE (with Premium options)