Pedometer Apps – Worth the Download?

I recently saw a tweet from a friend on Twitter, which read ‘Have been using a pedometer for one year today…2870km (1783 miles) walked since this time last year’. I jokingly replied as to whether these statistics were from an app, or if he had actually worn a pedometer everyday for the last year. The app was of course the answer, and, after I enquired further, I decided to download it for myself.

The name of the app isn’t particularly important, for there are several to choose from and I expect they all do more or less exactly the same thing, but in case you’re wondering, it was called Walkroid (look for the logo of the Android robot taking a stroll).

The app is extremely simple to use, in as much as you don’t really use it. You just install it, set your step distance if you feel it is larger/smaller than the 80cm they provide as default (I didn’t – I took an approximate guess and it seemed about 80) and start walking. I have had Walkroid installed since the 18th August now, and, according the Log, I have taken 217,110 steps, and covered 173.69km. I’m not sure if this is an impressive amount or not to be honest. The app obviously cannot account for everything, for any time I spend playing sports I keep my phone at home or in a locker room, and I’m not sure how effectively Walkroid registers steps when the phone is kept in your bag, which I sometimes do as well. However, for the time my phone is in my trouser pocket, the app seems to register the steps I take extremely well; I have tested it by counting over a short distance and checking the results: it is usually just a step or two out. To offer an example of this, 3 days ago (a Monday) I started a new job. I have taken the same route to get to work, and walked more or less the same distance each day. However, on Tuesday, I went searching during my lunch break for a birthday card, and yesterday I took a slightly different route to the train station to explore the area. Walkroid is informing me my step count of each of these days was as follows:

Monday – 5,015 steps (4.45km)

Tuesday – 5,839 steps (4.67km)

Wednesday – 5,563 steps (4.01km)

I’m not entirely sure how accurate these results are, but they don’t strike me as excessive or insufficient for the amount I’ve walked. They seem perfectly believable, especially given the extra walking I did on Tuesday and Wednesday in comparison to Monday, and the absence of any ridiculous abnormalities is encouraging. But why is any of this important?

Well, a few years ago I bought a cheap, clip on pedometer and used it obsessively. I began setting myself daily personal targets, and would go to great lengths (no pun intended!) to ensure I accomplished them! I can’t say that Walkroid has infused me with quite the same drive, but I do find it interesting to know how much exercise I’m getting week-to-week. If I’m turning into a complete sloth, I cannot hide from the evidence. If I feel I’m getting too unfit or putting on weight, I can set myself a personal target of upping the distance I cover each day, and track my progress wherever I am, whenever I want.

I’m not trying to suggest that using a pedometer is going to get you the body you’ve always dreamed of, but if you’re looking for a free, easy way to try and encourage yourself to be more active, downloading a pedometer app may be just the thing you’re looking for.


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