10-Minute Apps for Exercise, Meditation, Journaling & Brain Fitness

We all want to be healthy, and we want it to be easy, effortless enough to work into our busy lives jobs, errands, and other important tasks we pursue daily. Here's a selection of exercise, journal, gratitude, and meditation apps, some free, some paid, for you to use to meet your self-improvement goals. I’ve downloaded (and subsequently deleted) countless apps while researching this article. I’m proud to say the apps I settled on can and (probably) will improve your health and well-being in 10 minutes or less a day.

Related: Best Wellness Apps: Recipes, Exercise, Yoga, Meditation, Brain Games & More

If we’re going to download apps to play games, watch videos, and text a bunch, we may as well use a few minutes of that screen time to improve our health and well-being. These are some of my favorite new app buddies that will get me off the couch and into my better self.

Stop, Breathe & Think (Free, $9.99/month for Premium)

Honestly, if we all followed the directions of this app title, we’d be a bit calmer already. Most of us could use a little help in this area, however, and that’s exactly what this app is designed to do. As soon as you open the app, you check in, then stop and dim the screen for 10 seconds to check into what you are thinking and feeling. Then, as prompted, you input how your body, mind, and emotions feel. For body and mind, you choose from a few predetermined (and aptly illustrated) characteristics. For emotions, there are plenty of options ranging from a teary sad face to a joyful one to help you express what’s really going on. Once you’ve described your state of being, SB&T recommends a few meditative practices to help improve your mood. The exercises are generally 6–8 minutes, although some can be longer and there are usually ones that are a 3–5 minutes as well. Give this app a try between office tasks or on a bathroom break and see how you feel within 10 minutes of your check-in.

8Fit (Free, $59.99/year for Pro)

I liked 8Fit from the beginning because I could choose pictures that illustrate my body type. I instantly found a picture of what my abs look like as well one of what I’d like for them to be (because you choose that, too). Input some other standard information like height, weight, and age, and 8Fit will offer you three options: easy (low commitment), medium (typical), or hard (super committed). Next, decide how often you’d like to follow the 8Fit program, and you’ll see how soon you can expect results based on your choice. The app then guides you through workouts that are generally quite short. Pro users get meal plans and personal coaching to help maintain your new figure (because bicycle crunches and pizza nights seem to counteract each other). Follow the program as strictly or loosely as you’d like and be sure to take pics of the before and after for Instagram!

Lumosity (Free, $11.99/month for Premium)

Health and well-being are about more than being buff.; they’re also about being brilliant. As our bodies age, we want to be sure that our mental capacities remain intact. While no app has been proven to stave off diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia, Lumosity offers a great way to challenge your skull baby sharp by engaging you in simple mental activities that, honestly, feel like games. You can open the app when you have a moment of boredom here and there, like during commercial breaks or on car rides (assuming you’re the passenger). Each day Lumosity offers a handful of games for free to non-subscribers and offers unlimited access to more than 40 games and activities to subscribers. Lumosity also offers mindfulness training with partially free access to improve focus, relaxation, and clarity. I recommend trying out the free version, and if you love it, the Premium subscription costs less than a month of cable for an entire year of access. That’s an easy way to put those improved math and reasoning skills to work!

Mighty – Self Defense Fitness (Free, $59.99/year for Premium)

Let’s get back in the body now. Do you wish you felt stronger, more confident, and prepared for the unpredictable? I know I do. That’s why I downloaded Mighty. Mighty is a self-defense training app, geared to women but great for all genders, that trains you in basic self-defense skills. The app also offers confidence-building videos that improve your situational awareness and help you set boundaries. Access to the beginner boot camp is free and is enough to get you started on your journey to self-empowerment. The workouts are a combination of fitness training exercises and self-defense tactics that will not only helpyou feel physically capable but will also improve your overall health and physical well-being. I must admit, the completeworkouts are longer than 10 minutes if you include the warm-up and cooldown. However, the videos are thorough and engaging, and even without prior training, you’ll see improvements in no time.

J&J Official 7 Minute Workout (Free)

Workout for Women (Free)

Both of these 7-minute work-out apps offer a variety of high intensity but brief workout plans. The primary difference is the target gender. Workout for Women has exercises with such names as “Angel Butt,”“Bikini Body,” and “7M Women.” Sessions range in intensity from beginner to advanced and vary in length from 7 minutes to more than 20 minutes. J & J is geared toward men, with a male voice as the audio guide and a man demonstrating the workouts. J & J includes workouts like “The Mountain Peak,”“The Strength Workout,” and “The Super Hero Workout.” Both apps offer a similar selection of times and intensities, and of course, we are all free to choose which gendered app we prefer to work out with. Personally, I like a little of both.

Three Good Things (Free)

Gratitude reminds us of what we have to be happy about, is essential to good health and well-being, and has been shown to increase positive moods and decrease stress. Three Good Things is a gratitude app that offers three boxes in which you write what went well each day. Its simplicity and basic layout are some of my favorite features. Pop over to history and your screen is loaded with the great things that you’ve experienced this past week, month, or year. This is a great resource when you’re in a downer mood or are having a rough day.

Reflecty (Free, $47.99/year for Premium)

If you want to vent about your rough day, Reflecty is here for you. Reflecty is a daily journal in which you note your mood, write an entry, and enter a title. You can also answer random thought-provoking questions like, “What three things would you take on a deserted island?” or, “What would you do differently if you wouldn’t be judged?” Use Reflecty consistently, and you’ll be able to view your weekly average mood and how that compares to previous weeks; are you beginning to feel happier or more stressed? If you pay for the premium version, Reflecty also offers personal advice to boost your well-being.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of iPhone Life magazine.
Top image credit: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
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      Author Details

      Melanie Newell's picture

      Author Details

      Melanie Newell

      Melanie has been writing for as long as she can remember, and she loves using words to express ideas, convey emotions, or educate an audience. From speeches and journaling to poetry and screenplays, writing has guided Melanie through various experiences and continuously expands her intellectual and creative horizons.