Maybe you’ve never been a New Year’s resolution kind of person, but something feels different this year — after a turbulent 2020, it just seems appropriate to make some changes for the better in 2021. Improving your fitness seems like a good idea, but what’s a beginner to do when it’s still risky to work out with a personal trainer and the sheer wealth of workout apps online is overwhelming?
You start with one of these fitness apps that’s perfect for beginners, that’s what. Slickdeals boiled down the best beginner-friendly fitness apps to bring you this shortlist of five workout programs great for different fitness goals.
Oh, and the best part: Most of these apps are 100 percent free to download and use, and even the ones that aren’t free don’t come close to the cost of a gym membership or personal trainer.
Don’t let a monthly subscription price deter you from improving your fitness!
1. Best for Walking: MapMyWalk
MapMyWalk is a longstanding app that has stood the test of time. It’s perfect for fitness newbies who want to start with the most simple type of exercise there is: walking. This GPS-enabled app allows you to see your walking speed, mile pace and average pace, elapsed time, elevation, distance and calories burned.
For extra motivation, you can set up the app to audibly announce your pace, distance and calories burned every half mile or other interval of your choosing. Over time, you’ll see a picture of your improving fitness through the detailed walking stats collected by MapMyWalk.
2. Best for New Runners: Couch to 5K
If you want to step it up a notch and try your hand (er, your feet) at running, download Couch to 5K on your iPhone or Android phone. Another long-time favorite for fitness newbies, this app features a beginner-friendly running program designed to get people off of the couch and onto the pavement.
The program includes three 30-minute workouts each week with varying running and walking intervals. In the beginning, your walking intervals are significantly longer than your running intervals — but by the end of the nine-week program, you’ll be able to run 30 minutes without stopping.
While the other apps on this list are free or have free options, this one is $2.99 to download. However, that’s hardly a reason to prevent you from becoming more active.
3. Best for Busy People: Seven
If you’re a couch potato because you simply don’t have time to exercise, download the Seven fitness app from Johnson & Johnson. This app features a vast collection of seven-minute workouts, so there’s really no excuse not to get a workout in when you have this app. Plus, the workout library includes more than 200 workouts and is growing every week, so you won’t get bored with the selection.
4. Best for Starting a ‘Group Fitness’: Nike Training Club
For those who thrive in a group fitness atmosphere complete with instructors yelling at you to do better, Nike Training Club (NTC) is the way to go. The app features a massive library of workouts categorized by workout type (strength, cardio, etc.) and by muscle group (upper body, core, lower body).
In 2020, Nike made all of its NTC premium content free for everyone, so now anyone with the app can access all of the instructor-led classes, plus fully built out exercise programs tailored to specific goals.
5. Best for Stretching and Yoga: Yoga for Beginners
Want something gentler to kick off your fitness journey? Consider Yoga for Beginners, a 100-percent free library of yoga and stretching workouts designed for people new to yoga (in other words, you don’t have to be flexible to start with this app). Yoga for Beginners does offer a paid subscription, but the app includes a free library with hundreds of yoga flows. You can also build your own sequences by selecting individual yoga poses to practice.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.
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