The Best Affordable Workout Apps & Platforms
There are a multitude of apps out there, and it can naturally be overwhelming to know where to start. The first key is to refine your choices with your ideal workout intensity, current ability, and finances. Some questions to consider include:
Would you prefer or can only utilise free offerings? Are you someone who finds a figurative push in investing some money as a motivator?
What are your current physical and mental capabilities as opposed to your ideal vision? Exercise is a stressor in any extent to the body but should be enjoyable. Do not select your regimen with goals stemming from the Beauty Industrial Complex and Fatphobia prevalent in our culture as well as social media. In such cases, the steroid hormone cortisol that activates a fight-or-flight response increases more than usual during exercise. The functions of cortisol are supposed to be immediate and short lived, enough to see off any physical challenge. This was useful for cavemen fighting dangers, but less so in modern lives when stress can be psychological and even chronic. Too much cortisol for too long such as when overexercising can have serious, detrimental effects. It can lead to tissue breakdown, reduced protein synthesis, and conversion of protein to glucose that can decrease musculature. It also can suppress levels of growth hormone and sex hormones, leading to reduced libido and fertility. Lastly, it can lessen glucose usage and increase blood levels, potentially predisposing to the body to diabetes and osteoporosis. The aim for (an unrealistic ideal of ) beauty, in such an instance, truly will be pain.
What intensity do you truly enjoy? Has running never come across as pleasurable to you? Do you prefer solely outdoor or indoors? Do you have medical conditions, such as ongoing or recovery from an Eating Disorder, that would require you to be honest with yourself about what level of intensity is healthy for you right now? Also consider what you can do today as opposed to what you know or think you are or were capable of before. We are not automatons and our bodies shift in their needs, abilities, and recovery. Even when you do pick he appropriate exercise and app for yourself, consider it day by day. Be mindful of how much recovery you need in between. Rest.
Scroll on for the best workout apps and streaming services to try in your own backyard, local park, or home.
Run with Strava or Explore the local trails with REI’s Trail Run Project
REI’s Trail Run Project app is the ultimate guide to the outdoor running trails in your area. Although as a road runner myself for convenience, I do prefer trails since they lend for softer surfaces and are not as abrasive on the knees. The fresher air provided by the surrounding greenery and shade are also a plus. Use Trail Run Project to scope out appropriate trails for you, according to the images, length, and elevation of each trail. One of the pros of the app is that it also works offline, which is critical for off-the-grid areas with limited service. For days you’re pounding the streets, use Strava, which can not only track your run but also offers carious local groups to connect with and challenges to join • both on iOS and Android, free.
Keep the intensity High and Cortisol Low with Keelo, Nike Training Club (NTC), & Kirsty Godso
Short high intensity exercise such as sprints, High-intensity interval training(HITT), or weight training cause less of an increase in plasma cortisol concentrations. Keelo is a great app for pre-HIIT workouts under 20 minutes, a plus for many who don’t have the time for an hour-long workout. The app even has a coaching team via email for advice and recommendations. Nike Training Club (NTC) also offers HIIT workouts (along with recovery classes like yoga) developed by world-renowned trainers like Kirsty Godso, who also offers quick burst of fiery workouts on her Instagram page • both on iOS and Android, free.
Use Bvddy: Tinder for Active People
The app Bvddy matches you like Tinder with other active people in your area to play various sports, from biking to surfing. Your Bvddy profile takes into account your location, skills, and the sports you like and suggests matches who have similar interests. Similar to Tinder, you swipe to find a friend and then coordinate a meet-up for your preferred game, whether it’s a run around the park or a tennis match. It also allows you to join local sport events or create one for a group of people, like a kickball league • iOS and Android, free.
Breathe Back Neutrality into Your Body with the Be.come Project by Bethany C. Meyers
As a queer-identifying person who as dealt with Anorexia for a decade plus, finding Bethany C. Meyer’s the Be.come Project was a rest-your-shoulders, relax-your-gut, release-your-butt kind of discovery. It’s centered around body neutrality, which we have previously covered here. In a black-and-white market teeming with and fueled by body shame, Fatphobia, and heteronormativity, the Be.come Project is a technicolour project to enliven the body, mind, an soul. You’ll find none of that here. The classes are gentle yet effective and mindful of the time constraints of our busy lives with just 25 minutes. The routines are a “unique blend of the alignment of pilates, the lengthening of yoga and the musicality of dance,” lending to a sense of grace • Online streaming platform, first 10 days free then $35/month
Customise Your Yoga Class Taught by Leading Yoga Practioners with Glo
I have been practising yoga since 14-years-old and 12 of those years have been through Glo’s online classes. The platform allows for refining your practise according to type, duration, teacher, body part, and more. The platform is teeming with some of the best of the world’s yoga teachers from Tiffany Cruikshank who has an intricate focus on anatomy to Sara Clark, who uniquely combines HIIT in some classes and soothes with her voice in all. There are also additional offerings of meditations, lectures, and workshops by various scholars • Online streaming platform, first 15 days free then $18/month
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About the Author
Almila Kakinc-Dodd is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Thirlby. She is also the author of the book The Thirlby: A Field Guide to a Vibrant Mind, Body, & Soul. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Nursing as a Dean’s Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. Her background is in Anthropology & Literature, which she has further enriched through her Integrative Health Practitioner training at Duke University. She lives in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, where she regularly contributes to various publications. She is a member of Democratic Socialists of America and urges others to join the movement.