Although you know it’s vital to do what you can to pursue a healthy lifestyle, it’s not always easy. And one of the main barriers to taking care of your physical and mental health is expense. If you invest in a smartwatch and phone and then subscribe to various apps and programs, the costs soon mount up.
Fortunately, there are some great solutions for Apple Watch and iPhone users. We take a look at apps that go further than a free trial or limited functionality to offer you great health and well-being features for free.
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For Fitness and Nutrition
There are several iOS and watchOS apps for fitness and nutrition, as you'll find out below.
1. Apple Fitness
If you’re an Apple Watch or iPhone user, look no further than the tools Apple provides on your devices. Apple Fitness is a brilliant tool that should be your first port of call for supporting your exercise needs.
Ensure you familiarise yourself with how to close your Apple Watch activity rings daily. These iconic colored circles track your movement, exercise, and stand patterns throughout the day. See your progress at a glance on your Apple Watch face or your iPhone’s Fitness app. You can also track your trends over time.
Use the Apple Health app to record and track health conditions that may affect you in conjunction with Apple Fitness.
2. Simply Yoga
While there are several excellent yoga subscription apps to help you practice this holistic activity, Simply Yoga will get you moving for free. Although subscription options are available, there’s plenty of free content here.
Choose from Classic Routines or Latest Routines, choose a duration from 20 to 60 minutes, and you’ll start immediately. The routines are clearly demonstrated and explained, although they do move at a pretty rapid pace.
There’s also a link to Streaming Videos, which takes you to the YouAligned YouTube channel from the same team, giving you access to even more yoga possibilities. You can also explore these yoga apps and YouTube channels that don’t focus on weight loss.
Download: Simply Yoga (Free, in-app purchases available)
MyFitnessPal is one of numerous great health apps for iOS and Android users. It’s one of the leading all-in-one fitness and nutrition apps. You can use its vast food database to track your nutritional intake and set up a diet plan to eat healthily. And you can also set yourself fitness goals, use the built-in workouts, and track your progress.
The app syncs with your Apple Watch, along with over 30 other apps and fitness devices, so you can power your way to closing those activity rings each day.
Subscribe to go ad-free and gain enhanced nutritional tracking.
Download: MyFitnessPal (Free, subscription available)
For Mindfulness and Meditation
There are also several apps on iOS and Apple Watch that can help you improve your mental well-being.
If you have an Apple Watch, look for the white flower on a turquoise icon. It’s the Mindfulness function, and it’s perfect for taking a short moment to reflect or focus on your breathing.
Choose the Reflect option to see a thoughtful phrase prompting you to dwell on a positive aspect of your life, then enjoy the beautiful animated display that fills your screen. Alternatively, choose Breathe for instant access to a short breathing exercise with animated instructions.
You can change the duration of the exercises and schedule notifications to ensure you don’t forget to take that essential moment of mindfulness each day. Read more on how to use the Apple Watch Mindfulness app.
5. Aloe Bud
Describing itself as your “self-care pocket companion,” Aloe Bud aims to remind you gently throughout the day to manage your well-being. This free app uses push notifications to remind you to breathe, stay hydrated, take a moment to reflect, or connect with loved ones. With 11 categories to choose from, Aloe Bud is far more than just a great mindfulness tool.
Upgrade for unlimited access to all features. Read more about how to use Aloe Bud in our review.
Download: Aloe Bud (Free, subscription available)
6. Insight Timer
Insight Timer offers a truly comprehensive suite of features that will help you meditate, practice mindfulness, and relax for sleep. With thousands of guided meditations and more content added daily, you’re bound to find the perfect resource for your needs.
To help you sleep, Insight Timer offers music, sleep meditations, soundscapes, and bedtime stories.
Classes from leading meditation teachers, live talks, and mentoring are also offered, although some features will require a subscription. And you can join the worldwide Insight Timer community via the app. Find out more about how Insight Timer can improve your well-being.
Download: Insight Timer (Free, subscription available)
Stoic is a popular mental health tracking app. It provides over three million users with an easy way to record their mood and get access to exercises to boost their well-being. Stoic encourages you to check in twice a day and answer a few questions to help you get a better perspective on your condition.
Journaling, breathing exercises, meditations, and visualizations all help to support your well-being. In many apps, these tools are only available via subscription. Stoic offers them for free. Everything syncs perfectly with Apple Health, and your journal entries are securely stored in your personal iCloud storage.
Download: Stoic (Free, in-app purchases available)
Gratitude is a free app that will serve up affirmations and also allow you to keep a journal and create a mood board to manifest your goals.
The affirmations are beautifully presented and include a range of sayings from Louise Hay. There’s also a section for kids if you want to practice gratitude as a family.
Get daily inspiration from a Daily Zen section containing quotes, articles, and stories that you can share with others.
Subscribe to gain full access to all features, or simply enjoy the many free elements.
Download: Gratitude (Free, subscription available)
For Breathing Exercises
Working on your breathing can also help improve your well-being, and there are apps that can help in this respect.
iBreathe contains a range of easy-to-follow breathing exercises, all displayed on a cool blue screen with cues to guide you. The minimalistic presentation of this free app means there’s little to distract you from its function: to help you practice guided breathing. It’s a good accompanying app to Mindfulness, as iBreathe will teach you many of the classic techniques, such as 4-7-8 and box breathing.
Download: iBreathe (Free)
A free alternative to iBreathe is Lungy, which also provides breathing exercises in an app with a very different interface. Lungy responds to your breathing as you practice with a beautiful audio-visual display. So, you’ll find yourself blowing dandelion seeds or trying to dislodge a pile of blocks while soothing sounds accompany your experience. The focus is on fun and play.
While lots of free content is available, you may not be able to resist upgrading to Lungy Deluxe to gain full access to its innovative features.
Download: iBreathe (Free)
Make the Most of Free Wellness Apps for Your iPhone and Apple Watch
With so many options available in the health and wellness app market, it can be difficult to make wise choices. Using these free apps will allow you to improve your well-being without the expense or commitment involved in subscription apps. If you’ve never tried meditation or breathing exercises, you can use these apps to sample them for free. You may even form a new healthy habit that will last a lifetime.