MAINTAINING A HEALTHY LIFE- STYLE TAKES WORK, BUT WHAT IF A HEALTHY BODY AND MIND WERE AVAILABLE AT THE CLICK OF A BUTTON? The technology may not be quite there yet, but these smartphone apps are headed in the right direction by helping users develop long-lasting habits while working towards healthier life-styles. From easing stress with guided meditations to kicking habits like smoking or overeating, to even kick-starting good habits like reading 10 minutes a day or practicing guitar, check out these top wellness and fitness apps and turn your phone into a positive force on your journey towards a healthier you.
A series of guided mediations in varying lengths and topics, breathing programs, soothing music, gentle stretches, and original Sleep Stories available exclusively on this wellness app helps users lower their stress levels, reduce anxiety, and get a better night sleep. Calm has been around since 2012, but only in recent years has the app included a lineup of original music from Grammy nominated artists and exclusive readings from celebrities like Matthew McConaughey. Paid subscriptions start at $59.99 per year, and include more than 100 hours of content to help users strengthen their mental fitness by combating stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. $59.99 annually; calm.com
Although 8Fit is categorized as a “workout and meal planning” app, it should technically be in a category all its own. The app is like having a personal trainer and dietitian at your disposal all day, every day, where individuality is taken into account to create a customized and scientifically backed program to help users reach their fitness and health goals (i.e., lose weight, get fit, gain muscle, etc.). Workouts range from 15-20 minutes and can be done at home without any special equipment while meal plans are customized for each user with options for ingredient alternatives and dietary preferences. $59.99 annually; 8fit.com
This goal-setting app turns creating healthy habits into a game. Streaks offers users the chance to select up to 12 tasks to complete each day from a database of more than 500 task icons, including “Walk 5,000 Steps,” “Floss Your Teeth” and “Don’t Smoke.” The goal is to continue building a streak of consecutive days, otherwise the counter returns back to zero. Users can customize how often each task needs to be completed (i.e., “Call Your Parents Once a Week,” or “Avoid Junk Food Sunday Through Friday”). $4.99; streaksapp.com
Modeled after the Center for Disease Control’s diabetes prevention program, Noom is a lifestyle management app that takes a psychological approach to weight loss, helping users identify their own roadblocks—be it physical or mental— that hold them back from losing weight. Real coaches (“Goal Specialists”) guide users along their weight loss journeys by helping set goals and identifying areas of change while celebrating small victories and setting weekly action plans for exercise and nutrition with meal logs and exercise trackers. $59.99 monthly; noom.com
This app is essentially an intelligent alarm clock that wakes users up during their lightest sleep phase to ensure a more rested feeling throughout the day. Training the app is as simple as resting it on the bed and falling asleep, where the motion detector and microphone analyze sleep patterns to determine the five sleep stages for each user. Once the app has an idea of each user’s sleep pattern, it will be able to wake sleepers with a gentle wake up phase so the alarm goes off only when the lightest sleep phase has been reached. $29.99 for Premium, free for Basic; sleepcycle.com
Stream more than 1,100 workouts from the palm of your hand with Beachbody OnDemand. From the makers of some of the nation’s most buzzworthy fitness solutions—including P90X® Series, INSANITY® , FOCUS T25® , 21 Day Fix® , Body Beast® , PiYo® and Hip Hop Abs® —this app offers a massive range of fitness programs that users can select based on fitness level or exercise type and also comes with nutrition guides and calendars. Premium users have access to community support and an exclusive cooking show called Fixate with Autumn and Bobby Calabrese. Plans start at $39 for three months; beachbodyondemand.com
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Branson and Lebron James rave about this mindful app. Headspace guides users in simple meditations let by Andy Puddicombe, a trained Buddhist mink, while encouraging them to live mindfully and live in the moment. The app features hundreds of themed sessions that range from stress and anxiety to sleep and increased focus, and has been shown to help users sleep better, stress less, focus more and show more compassion to others. $12.99 monthly; headspace.com.