Digital wellness / July 20, 2021

Get the apps: Fitness and fun for summer 2021

Barb Oucharek

Barb Oucharek

TELUS Wise Ambassador Lead Alberta

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Now that the country is opening up, Canadians can really get moving again. And it’s definitely time. According to a Global News report, citing a survey in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 40.5% of inactive Canadians became even less active, and 22.4% of active Canadians also saw drops in their activity levels during the pandemic.

Even though many of us are leaving Zoom behind for real life socializing, you may want to keep a screen handy for both fitness and fun – at home or outside. There are a lot of apps and games that can inspire you to move, get active, break a sweat or meet a new personal best.

We’ve rounded up some of the top contenders.

Fitness and health apps

With so many available, how do you decide? Depends on what you like and how you prefer to move. We looked at the top iPhone and Android health and fitness apps in Canada in April 2021 by number of downloads. Here are the ones that appear on both lists.


With the Fitbit app, anyone can participate in the community, track basic stats and get motivated. But the fitbit tracker helps you get more out of the experience by tracking more sophisticated health stats including activity, exercise, sleep, nutrition, stress and heart rate. The app also offers workouts, nutrition programs, meditation and sleep tools.


Alltrails offers a database of trail maps for hiking, mountain biking, climbing and snow sports, with crowdsourced reviews and images. The app offers a first-hand view of more than 200,000 curated trails and a global community of more than 25 million explorers, with 344 million logged kilometres.


Calm is the number one app for sleep and meditation. The company’s mission is to make the world happier and healthier. The apps also offers daily meditations, breathing exercises, mood tracker, sleep stories, music tracks and guided meditations. Calm is also available on Optik TV.


Strava is a GPS cycling and running app. The company’s mission is to build the most engaged community of athletes in the world, offering new ways of inspiring them and making the sports they love even more fun. Users can track running and riding with GPS, join challenges, share photos and follow friends.

Fitness games

If “exercising” isn’t necessarily your thing, you can move and sweat just the same through play. There are a lot of video and virtual reality games available that get your heart rate up without thinking about the effort. TechRadar, a UK-based consumer technology news and reviews site, rounded up some of the top offerings.

Ring Fit Adventure: Nintendo Switch (need a Ring Fit device)

In this game, you do exercise moves to defeat a body building Dragon named Dragaux.

Pokemon Go: iOS and Android

Get outside, increase your steps and chase Pokemon in the real world using your smartphone. It’s great because you focus on the game and not the exercise - but just remember to pay attention to your surroundings.

Fitness Boxing: Nintendo Switch (need Joy-Con motion controllers)

Embrace your inner Muhammad Ali with a virtual trainer. Using the controllers, you can punch, dodge and crunch your way to fitness and better health.

Beat Saber: PS4 and PC

This virtual reality rhythm game isn’t in the fitness category, but you end up doing a lot of moving as you’re trying to slice the beats. While you’re playing, you get a workout without even knowing it.

Zumba Burn it Up: Nintendo Switch

Real-life instructors get you moving in a private Zumba class. Choose from more than 30 classes with great music to groove to.

Just Dance 2020: Nintendo Switch, Wii, PS4, Xbox One and Stadia

Do you love to get your sweat on on the dance floor? Then Just Dance is a great game for you. Artists including Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Ariana Grande provide the tunes. To make it simple, you can just download the Just Dance Controller app and track your moves on your smartphone.

Since the start of the pandemic, the majority of our lives have been indoors and on our screens. It’s how we’ve worked, socialized, stayed entertained and informed and built community. Now that we have more opportunity to get outside and get active, our screens can come in handy to help us get active, stay healthy and in shape. Whether you prefer straight up fitness or the fun of playing a game, you can use your screen time productively to get moving. And remember, regardless of where you’re using your device to get fit, always keep safety in mind - be aware of your physical surroundings if you’re outdoors, take steps to protect your privacy and always use technology responsibly.

Apps & gaming
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