It can be hard to motivate yourself to stay active during the winter months. It is too cold for many of us to run outside, and curling up with a good book seems more appealing than braving the gray weather to take a walk around the block. But it’s important to find ways to stay active at this time of year, especially because exercise can help you beat winter blues.
So, we’ve compiled a list of apps to encourage you to stay active and healthy. Some are designed to help beginners start exercising, and some will keep experts motivated to keep moving. Some are just plain fun; plus, many allow you to share your activity over Facebook or Twitter, so your social media circles can see your progress and hold you virtually accountable for exercising.
Browse our list of apps and find one that works for you.
This app will walk you through exercises at the gym or at home, using audio instructions, photos and videos. There is no need to step outside unless you want to. You can create your own workout or choose a goal to work toward. If you’re not sure where to start, you can try workouts recommended by others who use the app.
Free for Android and iOS, with options to pay for a Pro+ account.
This app includes full-body workouts developed by a Nike trainer. Audio guidance will walk you through 15, 30, or 45 minutes of exercises ranging from beginner to advanced. To motivate you to stay active, you will earn rewards as you train, such as extra advice or new workouts. The app includes workouts that can be completed at home or in the gym, and you can choose activities that focus on cardio, weights, or activities such as yoga to meet your goals.
Available free for Android and iOS.
This app requires seven minutes each day – no equipment, no commute to the gym. And, according to the app’s creators, the high-intensity workout and the science behind it have been published in an American College of Sports Medicine research journal. Audio and video instructions will guide you through a dozen 30-second exercises, with 10 seconds of rest between each activity. The app will track your workouts and, as you progress, you can unlock rewards.
Available for $1.94 for Android, $1.99 for iOS.
Squats are a great way to strengthen your lower body, and you can do them at home, in an empty corner of your office, or anywhere you have a few feet of space to stand. This app will guide you through a workout plan, tracking the number of squats you’ve completed and timing your breaks between sets of squats. You can upload your progress to the Runtastic website for analysis and to compare your progress to the community.
The creators of the app, Runtastic, also have a variety of apps focusing on other activities and muscle groups, such as pushups, pull-ups, biking, ab exercises, and, of course, running.
Runtastic Squats is available free for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
This app will help you track your diet and exercise. Enter the foods you eat and exercises you complete, and it will keep track of how many calories and what type of calories you are consuming, and whether you are meeting your caloric goals. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. The app will create diet and exercise recommendations to help you meet your goals. MyFitnessPal provides progress reports and analysis, and allows you to connect with friends so you can motivate each other. It is compatible with dozens of other fitness-related apps and devices as well.
Available free for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
6. Pocket Yoga
Have you wanted to try yoga, but aren’t sure where to start? Then this app might be exactly what you’ve been looking for. Pocket Yoga provides audio instructions and pictures of what yoga poses are supposed to look like when done correctly. You can select the difficulty level, type of yoga and length of your workout, and you can unlock new tools as you use the app. And, best of all, you just need some free time and enough space to unroll a yoga mat.
Available for $2.99 on Android and iOS.
This app randomly selects full-body workouts that last between 10 and 30 minutes. The makers of the app have also created individual apps that target just one area, such as Daily Ab Workout, Daily Arm Workout, Daily Leg Workout, and others.
A limited version is available free for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. You must pay for the full version.
Cody is an app that provides plenty of motivation from your friends and other users to stay active. Subscribe to a fitness plan — you can choose from yoga, strength-training movements, weight-lifting tips, and exercises to improve flexibility, and others — and begin watching videos from trainers. Just pick a plan that fits your fitness level and needs. Some plans require gym equipment, but others you can do inside your own home. Then, find your friends or meet new people through the app who will cheer you on as you progress.
Available free for Android and iOS. You must pay for the fitness plans.
Former NFL player Tony Gonzalez provides coaching tips through this app, which leads you through a series of exercises and workouts that require no equipment and don’t need a ton of space to complete. You can stay motivated by competing in fitness challenges against a friend or setting personal goals. The app works with other fitness-related programs, and tracks your progress as you continue to exercise. As you exercise, you can unlock additional features. FitStar has also created a similar app for yoga.
Personal Trainer is free for iOS, with an option to purchase premium access.
10. Walk the Dog
This app will motivate you to stand up and move around. Keep your phone in your pocket, and a virtual dog will track your movements and provide a summary of your activity for the previous hour. If you don’t move enough, the app will direct you to take the dog for a walk.
Available free for Android.