Social Distancing? Apps to help get you and your family through Coronavirus
Yesterday I did an audio fitness class on MoveWith with my 11-year old daughter. Today I jumped in the 53 degree San Francisco Bay with my son, and then we went for a run. Nothing about that is normal. Like most, we’d usually be over-scheduled with team sports, or driving to school activities. But with school and work closures, race cancellations, and yoga studios, gyms, ski resorts and pools closing their doors, finding creative ways to stay physically and mentally active is the new normal.
I’ve spent the last several years researching apps and resources in the health, learning, fitness and outdoors space, and here’s a starting point if you need ideas or want to learn something new in the forced downtime. One note: experts recommend we all keep moving but athletes should NOT go hard as it lowers immunity.
Let me know what’s missing and I’ll update. While much of this is online, local businesses need our support more than ever; watch for the local studios, instructors and gyms that are starting virtual classes. I’ve started this list for my area in Marin and the North Bay.
- Zwift. Take the bike in your garage, pair it with a smart trainer and you are off to the races in a global community of cyclists. In a game-like environment, you get training plans, live races and challenges that will get you seriously fit. Zwift runs on your phone, tablet or computer for $14.99 month and you pair it with a trainer like the Wahoo Kickr, Tacx Neo 2T, or Elite Suito. I use the Wahoo Kickr and it works well.
- Peloton. Great classes, high quality bike + monitor, everyone in the family can adjust the bike to use it; I don’t have one but friends love it. Not cheap: The cost for a bike starts at $2,245 or $58 a month, plus $39/month membership.
- Trainer Road. Supposed to be good for more structured, focused and specific training plans. No entertainment built in. $12/month or $99/year.
- Sufferfest. Comprehensive training for cyclists and triathletes designed by top coaches; incorporates yoga, mind and strength training. Similar to Zwift, pair with the Wahoo Kickr smart trainer, bluetooth and ANT+ power meter, and heart rate monitor.
- If price is the most important factor, buy a high quality trainer for $299 like the Kinetic, put your computer or phone in front of it and peddle away while you watch YouTube or Netflix.
Outdoor running, cycling and community
- Strava. The go-to for any endurance athlete who wants to track their activities, measure their progress, or join virtual and real-life clubs. You join to track your runs, rides, ski days and activities; you stay for the community which has never been more important. Free with a premium option called Summit for advanced features ($59.99 annually). If you’re on Strava, join our Prokit Community Club and we can share those kudos.
Yoga, HIIT, Strength and Fitness
- MoveWith. Top fitness + wellness coaches create audio-based classes and programs to help you get stronger, reduce stress, sleep better, run further, and more. Any type of fitness and meditation class. $12.99/month or $95.99/year.
- Peloton Digital. 20+ live classes a day and thousands of on-demand classes with or without equipment. It includes a selection of indoor cycling, running, walking, bootcamp, strength and outdoor (audio-only) classes. Just announced a free 90-day trial for COVID-19; then $12.99/month.
- Aaptiv. Thousands of workouts with more than 30 new classes every week covering strength, yoga, running, HIIT and indoor cycling. $14.99/month or $99.99/year.
Mind, Meditation and Mental Health
- Headspace. This has been my go-to for years and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Headspace makes learning and practicing meditation simple and the audio classes are in bite-size 10, 15 or 20 minute increments so you can fit it in whenever you have a few minutes. They also have classes for kids and the family; thinking about starting a morning session for everyone before the cabin fever kicks in. $12.99/month or $69.99/year; they have discounts for students and families, and are making it free for US healthcare providers. A few free classes to help.
- Calm. People also like Calm for meditation and improving sleep. I haven’t tried it so people who have used both can weigh in with comments. Free trial and then $69.99/year.
- Others suggest The Waking Up app, Insights Timer, and Ten Percent Happier. Psychologist Dominque Samuels share a lot of tips for your protecting your mental health. Ruth Reader has a list of Therapy apps to help you manage your mental health.
Hiking and Backcountry Camping
- AllTrails. If you’re looking for hikes and scouting off the grid locations for camping, this is your starting place. Combine it with Google Earth and you are on your way to backcountry hiking and camping adventures. Free to join with premium options.
- Masterclass. Learn from the world’s best instructors in highly produced classes that are as much HBO / Netflix movie as they are a class. Step into Anna Wintour’s office, Timbaland’s recording studio, and Neil Gaiman’s writing retreat. Improve your serve with Serena Williams, perfect your pitch with Shonda Rhimes, and learn how to shoot by Steph Curry. Hundreds of video lessons from 80+ brilliant minds. $15/month billed annually.
- CreativeLive. Online classes taught by inspiring instructors in creative topics, including photography, design, craft & anything else you can imagine. 1500+ curated classes, 650+ world-class instructors, and 10+ million students. Free and paid.
- Kahn Academy. Refresh your math skills or help your kids through the school closures, Kahn Academy is free and brings world-class education to anyone.
- Duolingo. Download the app and teach yourself a new language.
- Coursera. Yale just released its most popular class, The Science of Well-Being, for free.
Surfing and Swimming
- Surfline. A great starting place if you’re looking for surf reports and trying to find the surf spot closest to you.
- Open Water Swimming. I’m still looking for the best tool if people have recommendations. There’s this list for the Americas and here for the UK. If climate allows, could be the time to explore open water swimming.
Free websites and apps
- YouTube. If you haven’t explored YouTube beyond the videos that pass in your FB or Twitter feeds, you can find free classes, learn new skills and find instructors covering any health, yoga and fitness topic. For the cyclists, Ted King (@iamtedking) has been at work with new videos, and Sage Canaday shares tips and skills for runners.
- Prokit. We are working hard to bring together the best people and content to learn from experts and plan your next adventure. If you want to start writing in this downtime and have a story, insight or race report to share, we’d love to feature it. Think of your Prokit profile like your own custom website and storytelling platform.
- NutritionFacts.org. @nutritionfacts-org has assembled thousands of free evidence-based videos on nutrition and food choices to help you fight, manage and reverse disease, or boost your immune system.
Podcasts, Videos and Documentaries
- Podcasts: We captured some of our favorite health and endurance sports podcasts in a Podcast Collection. For trail and ultra runners, check out Podcasts – TAUR.
- My co-founder created a Collection of great running movies and documentaries that is mostly focused on the trail and ultra world.
Movement and Immunity-Boosting Recommendations
- Evidence-based summary from author and performance coach Brad Stulberg. “Keep moving. Mind-body needs it. No gyms. Push-ups/squats/get-ups/kettlebell at home. Anything outdoors in uncrowded spaces. Do NOT go hard, lowers immunity. Do NOT cut carbs, lowers immunity.”
- Amby Burfoot at Podium Runner covers How to Train and Eat to Boost Your Immunity from Coronavirus.
- Corrine Malcolm put together an excellent piece for iRunFar; COVID-19: A Trail Running and Ultrarunning Community Guide.