The Best Workout Apps to Keep You Fit During the Coronavirus Lockdown
These streaming services make it easy (well, easier) to stay active even when the gym is off-limits
As our new Covid-19 reality sets in, it’s all too easy to let your routines slide, but during a time of major stress and disruption, exercise can be a useful outlet that helps you stay as physically and mentally healthy as possible. And even if you’re used to relying on a gym or your favorite class to keep you moving, countless online platforms streaming everything from HIIT to belly dancing classes mean — silver lining! — right now is actually a better time than ever to work out at home. In addition, plenty of brick-and-mortar gyms are currently offering free digital content, such as CorePower Yoga On Demand and Planet Fitness, which streams classes on its Facebook page Monday through Friday. On YouTube, you can join millions of subscribers in following Yoga With Adriene or Yoga with Kassandra for accessible and down-to-earth instruction videos.
If you can, set aside 30 minutes a day (or more!) for exercise, says Alo Moves instructor Briohny Smyth. One way to make this more fun is to mix things up with a variety of workouts, both low- and high-impact. “Pick something you like, schedule a time, and commit to it,” advises Smyth, who stresses finding a modality that holds your attention and suits your body. “It should feel good.” To stay motivated, Obé instructor Madelaine O’Connell suggests finding an accountability partner, be it a close pal, family member, or new friend via social media (many streaming tools and apps have fan groups on Facebook, for example).
Right now is actually a better time than ever to work out at home.
And while it might be difficult to find a quiet or secluded space if you live with family or roommates, try as much as possible to replicate the in-class experience. If you’re easily distracted, turn your phone to silent and inform loved ones not to enter the room. If you need ambiance, light some candles. Don your finest athleisure-wear and grab a reusable water bottle, just like at the gym.
Think of it as stolen time, notes Smyth. “The flip side is you’re not in a rush right now,” she says. “Instead of focusing on how we’re stuck indoors, exercise can be something we look forward to.”
If you like a little bit of everything: DailyBurn
With thousands of workouts on tap, DailyBurn has pretty much any fitness routine you might be interested in: Pilates, cardio, muscle building, stretching, and the like. And to better keep you engaged, the platform has a built-in social network where members encourage one another to stick to fitness goals and keep on sweating. The app also includes a number of programs to jumpstart your fitness journey, including boot camps, yoga basics, beginner plans, and a grueling 21-day “inferno” workout challenge. (DailyBurn; 30-day free trial, $14.95 per month)
If you’re a yoga devotee: Alo Moves
Here you can access unlimited yoga of every kind and for every level: Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hatha, Yin, Kundalini, prenatal, you name it. The 2,500+ video class library includes sessions with some of the top yoga instructors as well as a variety of meditation and mindfulness content. For those looking to save money, you can also check out the brand’s newly launched YouTube channel, which offers 15 classes for free. (Alo Moves; 14-day free trial, $20/month)
If you’re easily distracted: Obé
If blasé backgrounds and boring sets don’t do it for you, consider Obé, which features James Turrell–inspired sets that look like Outdoor Voices infiltrated Tron. These classes are a mesmerizing stream of bright pastel and neon lights inside a minimalist cube, and even the instructors’ attire matches the set. Obé’s 4,000+ classes span sculpt, dance, circuit, HIIT, yoga, and more with both live and prerecorded options available. And just this week, the platform released children’s fitness programming. (Obé; seven-day free trial, $27/month)
If you’re sick of looking at a screen (who isn’t?): Aaptiv
Not everyone enjoys staring at a screen during a workout (especially those of us stuck working on computers all day). Aaptiv, known as the “Spotify of fitness,” is an on-demand audio library of guided coaching for running, cardio, strength, boxing, yoga, and much, much more. For modalities such as yoga, in which craning your neck toward a TV often misses the point, this proves extremely helpful. It’s also great for running as instructors pace out sprints, jogs, and all-out efforts based on your preference. Users can sort through 2,500 classes based on time, music genre or artist, and skill level. (Aaptiv; 30-day free trial, $15/month)
If you need a stress release: The Class by Taryn Toomey
The Class built a cult following around its signature “emotional workout” in which attendees shout, grunt, and vocally release frustration during challenging cardio workouts. In the digital platform, instructors touch on a host of modern woes — be it work, relationship hurdles, a global pandemic — while performing burpees, jumping jacks, and side lunges to inspiring, fast-paced music. Note: Livestreamed classes run in the morning and afternoon, but you can access a library of shorter prerecorded content throughout the day. (The Class by Taryn Toomey; 14-day free trial, $40/month)
If you love barre: Ballet Beautiful
Former ballerina Mary Helen Bowers trained a number of Victoria’s Secret Angels (as well as Natalie Portman for Black Swan) with her precise sculpting exercises. Her online classes are anything but easy, but there’s such a sense of accomplishment once you master tough toning moves that target the butt, glutes, and legs. The digital platform includes 300 on-demand videos, along with two new workouts every month. It’s perhaps the most graceful way to get fit. (Ballet Beautiful, 14-day free trial with coupon code 2WTRIAL; $39.99/month)
If you love boutique studios: FitOn
Find yourself frustrated by poor video quality? Does subpar sound drive you batty? Try FitOn for high-quality workout videos that replicate the feel of premium studio fitness classes. Take your pick of cardio, HIIT, and yoga from a wide range of celebrity trainers as well as stars like Gabrielle Union and Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness. There’s no equipment required and you can even customize personalized plans based on your fitness goals. The best part? It’s totally free. (FitOn)
If dance is your thing: DanceBody
Those skilled in the choreography department might want to check out popular studio DanceBody’s online platform. The dance-inspired cardio — with some toning and strength thrown in — is easy to follow, and the tunes are great. It’s likely the most sweat-inducing, high-impact fun you can have without leaving the house. (DanceBody; seven-day trial, $34.99/month)
“Instead of focusing on how we’re stuck indoors, exercise can be something we look forward to.”
If you want to strength train: Nike Training Club
This free app features top-notch Nike Master Trainers — including tennis icon Serena Williams — teaching both bodyweight- and equipment-based classes. There’s strength, endurance, mobility, and even yoga for all levels. In addition, members can access nutrition and wellness content, along with daily workout recommendations and customizable plans. (Nike Training Club, free)
If you’re a cardio-aholic: Sweat by Kayla
Kayla Itsines became a household name (and snagged more than 12 million Instagram followers) with her full-body cardio workouts. The fitness influencer’s streaming platform includes a wide range of 28-minute classes, all led by female instructors. There are plenty of beginner and intermediate options, along with meal plans, exercise tracking, recipes, and interactive group fitness challenges. (Sweat; seven-day free trial, $19.99/month)
If you want a coach: Freeletics
There’s a reason Freeletics boasts more than 31 million users in over 160 countries: It’s like having a coach, but without the hefty price tag. This customizable app has a unique A.I. algorithm that adapts to a user’s feedback and class schedule, guiding you toward your fitness goals. The personalized programming requires no equipment and spans four categories: bodyweight, gym, nutrition, and running. (Freeletics; $2.31/week)
If you like lots of variety: NEOU
Need a ton of variety? Can’t commit to just one form of exercise or instructor? With NEOU, you can browse through thousands of live and on-demand workout classes from a variety of brands and fitness influencers, like former Radio City Rockette Jacey Lambros. There’s cardio dance, boot camp, Pilates, and a plethora of mash-ups and up-and-coming exercise routines. (NEOU; 30-day trial with this link; $14.99/month or $49.99 for the first year)
The coronavirus outbreak is rapidly evolving. To stay informed, check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as your local health department for updates. If you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed, reach out to the Crisis Text Line.