Needless to say, the pandemic has been disrupting our lives in many ways. For an active person like me who thrives outdoors, the pandemic and its subsequent social distancing measures have turned my life upset down. Pre-COVID I used to jog, workout and engage in all kinds of sport activities at least three times per week. But since we have been under lockdown orders, my activity level has dropped to ZERO and I even start to have symptoms of sciatica from sitting too much. On top of that, I have a constant craving for food . . . and more food. In just one year, I have gained a whopping 9kg, the most I have ever gained in my entire life. My six-pack has now turned into a six-pack of fat. To stop my health (and my sanity!) from spiraling further down, I had to look for resources to bring some normality back into my life again. These three wellness apps are great tools to survive this pandemic.

Nike Training Club by Nike, Inc.

I have to stay active and look for drills that I can easily do at home, i.e., in a five-by-six-foot space. I have tried many different fitness apps before, but Nike Training Club (NTC) is definitely my most favorite one so far!

How it works

After downloading this app, you will be asked a few questions like which kind of workouts you prefer or how many times per week you work out. NTC will then recommend a few fitness programs based on your preferences that last from four to six weeks and consist of several stages with up to five exercises in each stage. The exercises in each next stage get harder and harder as you progress. The objective is to complete one stage per week, but you can go faster or slower depending upon how often you work out.

But it is not necessary to follow a program. You can also just browse and select a workout session by muscle group, training focus (such as endurance, mobility, strength and yoga), duration, use of equipment and difficulty level from beginner to advanced. NTC has over 180 drill sessions covering diverse categories including yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIT), core workouts and strength training. Each session lasts from five minutes to an hour, contains warm-up and cooldown exercises and can be easily followed via high-quality demo videos and narratives. The app saves all your completed workouts in the Activity tab, so you can keep track of your training history. As you complete more and more workouts, you are awarded “trophies” for completing a given number of sessions over a given period for encouragement.

What’s so great about it

I like the diversity and the wide range of fitness plans this app has to offer, whether you are looking for yoga, weight training or cardio exercises. Most exercises do not require any equipment, or only require two dumbbells plus a yoga mat and can be done easily from the comfort of your home. And because you can select your own workouts, you can easily combine several sessions and compile your own personalized training program. I have been using NTC for over six months now and especially love the 20-minute Strength Kickstarter followed by another 20 minutes of Essential Yoga Therapy. I always feel so much more energized after completing them. I highly recommend this app to anyone who wants to stay in shape, even when homebound.

Even better news: this app is now entirely free! In the past, NTC had a subscription-based premium version. But since the beginning of this year, as a response to the pandemic, Nike has made its premium content free for everyone to use. You can now access even more great fitness plans without paying a penny.

For more info:

Plant Nanny² by Fourdesire

Experts advise that we should be drinking six to eight glasses of water per day. But how do you manage to drink so much water? Especially when you have a busy schedule, juggling all sorts of professional and family responsibilities and daily errands? I usually manage to drink only five glasses per day, seven at the most after heavy workouts. But, apparently, I am not the only one who seems dehydrated, because in my online research, I found that few people manage to drink eight glasses or more, only 22% to be exact. A friend of mine had the same issue before and suggested this Plant Nanny² app to me. I have been using it ever since. Plant Nanny² is a simple but effective app to help you stay hydrated throughout the day.

How it works

After registering, you just need to enter some info such as height, weight and activity level. The app will then automatically calculate your daily water intake and send you reminder notifications to drink water. Every time you drink, you in fact also water the plant in your app. The more water you drink, the bigger and happier your plant gets. But if you don’t meet your daily water intake quota, the plant will look sad and neglected.

What’s so great about it

What I like about this app, apart from the fact that it’s easy to use and helps me stay hydrated, are the super cute plants. They make you want to treat them well and give them enough water. Plant Nanny² has just introduced a new daily hydration plan that gives you a greater selection of adorable plants and more customization to personalize the app.

For more info:

Lifesum by Lifesum AB

This app is my latest find from the App Store! Lifesum is a food- and activity-tracking app that helps you keep tabs on your weight, eat better and live healthier.

How it works

Upon registration, the app will ask for a few criteria such as age, height, weight goals and body measurements. Then, in the Diary tab, you can log everything you eat and your exercises during the day. Lifesum will automatically add the calories and nutritional information for each food and exercise you enter and generate a complete picture of your calorie intake and burn for the day. Personalized recommendations for improvements and healthier food recipes are provided based on your goals and lifestyle.

The app also gives access to a good range of specialized meal plans and recipes depending upon your diet requirements. There are plans focused on high protein, a Mediterranean diet, Keto burn, etc. The Life Score sums up how healthy your lifestyle is, with 150 being “perfect.”

The app has both free and premium versions from US$4.17 per month. The free version has only one diet, whereas the premium subscription comes with extra features like more diets, premium recipes, detailed nutritional info and the ability to save unlimited meals.

Lifesum claims that you can also integrate it with activity trackers like FitBit, Moves, Jawbone, Runkeeper and Apple Health so you can add and track your exercises. I honestly have not tried this yet. But even without synchronization, I think the app gives me a good idea of how many calories I have burned with different workouts because it has a pretty extensive library of sport exercises.

What’s so great about it

Convenience is its greatest asset because with Lifesum you get meal plans, a diary, a calorie counter, a macro calculator, healthy food recipes and an activity tracker all in one place. When I log my daily food consumption and activities, it gives me a clear overview of my lifestyle and helps me make better food choices and decide which foods I should eat more or less of.

It’s very flexible and works with any diet. I have been using Lifesum every day for just three weeks now and have learned a thing or two about healthy living. By switching up my food choices here and there, my Life Score has gone up from 105 to 112 (Does that mean I can live up to 112 years now? :-P). I have lost a few fat rolls and am well on my way to my target weight without having to make drastic changes to my diet.

For more info:

I know my post may sound like I am apping 24/7 . . . but hey, who is not apping nowadays? So why not choose apps that help us stay fit and well.