What is mindfulness ? For the iPhone
Owning an iPhone won’t make you mindful and healthy. But a smart phone is a powerful tool. And part of blending mindfulness into your life is about learning to use tools to increase your awareness and bring balance to our lives.
Though I have many kinds of apps on my iPhone, these 5 aps stand for 3 reasons.
1. They have simple minimal designs.
2. They provide practical tools to increase mindfulness and fitness.
3. They are useful for people with a variety different mindfulness and fitness goals.
So with further ado I give you:
The 5 Best Minimalist iPhone Apps For Mindfulness and Fitness
1. Mind – Meditation Timer – Free
If you want to start meditating, you need a timer. And staring at a clock is challenging even for the strongest sitters. So, I recommend getting an app to time your sessions.
Of course, there are tons of meditation timers out there. But I love Mind because of its super minimal design.
You move the rainbow colored counter to whatever time you want. Then you tap the button. You hear a little gear cranking sound and small text appears that tells you to relax and focus on your breath.
The lines slowly move to the right giving you a sense of time passing without the mind numbing quality of digital numbers counting down. When the time has expired, a nice soft chime rings 3 times.
2. Evernote – A Minimal Journaling and Note Taking App – Free
If you want to become more aware of your life, you have to start keeping track. And evernote is one of the best minimal apps out there to record and track your mind, mood, and food.
I use evernote for everything from writing my daily vows, to taking notes, to keeping journals of my food and exercise. It’s simple input makes keeping track of various notes very simple.
Best of all you can have it on your computer, iPhone, iPad, and even access it on the web. Notes from each device all sync to the cloud. This means you can take notes on your phone and edit them on your computer or vice versa.
3. Hundred PushUps – A Mininal Strength Trainig Ap – $1.99
This is a simple and awesome app for anyone wanting to build functional strength. You follow the programs, take the tests, and work your way to 100 pushups. Pushups are a great full body exercise and this app makes the path to 100 pushups nice and simple.
It’s a great way to establish a regular strength training practice and though it’s not a comprehensive workout. It will give you confidence try other strength training regimes once you get done.
I’ve used this program with many of my clients and have seen great results in strength and confidence.
This is the only app on the list that you have to pay for, but if money is an issue you can skip the payment and just follow the program by going to http://www.hundredpushups.com/
4. C25KFree – Free
There are a lot of couch to 5k apps out there, but I like the simple design of this one and the fact that it’s free doesn’t hurt.
The app takes you through a simple 8-week running and walking program to get you up to running a 5k. Almost anyone can complete this very simple program.
Most people go out too fast when starting an exercise program and the slow pace of this app will help you get moving while keeping you injury free.
I’ve used this with clients and it not only gets you running but is a very gentle way to start yourself on a path of doing regular exercise.
5. Lotus Bud Mindfulness Bell – Free
A mindfulness bell is a bell that rings periodically to remind you to be present. I have used them off an on for years. They serve as a great cue to stop and take a breath.
I’ve tried out a few apps with lots of complicated steps, but this app is super simple. You turn it on and set when you want the bells to stop. Then through out your day a bell will ring to remind you to stop and take a few breaths.
The only downside is you have to remember to start it every morning, but that itself can become a good mindfulness practice. Though I’m not in love with this app, I haven’t found anything better. And remembering to practice is one of the biggest challenges there are.
These apps are great apps for anyone who wants to make big changes in their lives, but neither of them qualified as minimal so I didn’t include them on the original list.
My Fitness Pal – Free
Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal
This is a great tool for anyone who wants to keep track of his or her food towards the goal of losing weight. Though a million fad diets have come and gone the calorie in calorie out method of weight loss has stood the test of time
With thousands of preprogrammed foods, MyFitnessPal makes calorie counting much easier. It will provide you with weekly calorie goals to help you lose weight.
My tips for using MyFitnessPal
1. Ignore daily totals use the weekly goals as your main focus. This means you can cheat some days and still be under for the week.
2. Set your weekly weight loss goals reasonably. Slow weight loss is sustainable and will give you time to develop healthy habits. If you set your weight loss goals too high you’ll either bail or rebound.
3.Watch your anxiety level when using this app. If it becomes an obsession, try something else. It is a great tool, but don’t let it control your life.
Cyclemeter – $4.99
This app may cost 5 bucks but it’s worth 10 times that. I started using this app when I began training for my first century ride and now I use it for everything.
My favorite features
Programmable intervals – This app allows you to create your own interval workouts based on distance or time. Which means you can use it for speed workouts or HIIT without much trouble.
Doesn’t drain your battery – I tried other GPS tracking apps, mapmyrun, strava, and they all killed my battery. I don’t know how this one does it, but it outlasts all the others.
Facebook Wall Reading –
This app will post your progress to Facebook and actually read you the comments that people post in reply. Nothing is cooler than to be out on a run and have this app tell me that my friend Ali said to have a nice run.
This is a totally extravagant feature for an app but it’s still cool.
Finally, I’d like to say that though I use my phone to track my runs I try not to always use it to listen to music and ignore my body. While a smart phone is an excellent tool that can support your intentions to be mindful, it can also support your intentions to be mindless.
Final Thoughts on the Best Minimalist Mindfulness and Fitness Apps
While your iPhone can be an amazing tool, it can also become an amazing problem. We must learn to master the skill of picking up and putting down. This means we know when to use this tool to help us be aware and when we are using it to avoid our feelings or mind.
While all these apps can be helpful, nothing will improve your awareness more than leaving your phone at home and going for a walk or run unplugged.
Our natural environment can teach us more about life and our own mind than any app we can ever buy.