Walking can be the key that unlocks weight loss in your life.
According to the CDC, adults, aged 18-64 should have a body mass index of 19-24.9. For those who are unaware, body mass index is defined as your mass, divided by the square of your height (kg/m^2) and does not take into account variations in males or females. It is likely not surprising to hear that 2/3 Americans have an overweight BMI of 25-30 and 1/3 of American adults have an obese BMI >30. Sadly, 1/20 are considered to be morbidly obese with a BMI >40 and or a weight of >100 pounds above normal BMI. Why does this information matter? Being overweight or obese carries risks for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, some types of cancer and or stroke (NIH data). So, what can we do to combat this epidemic? Would you believe that all of us have the power inside of us? It is the power of locomotion.
Many of us have heard about the magic 10,000 steps. Unfortunately, this number has been more of an anecdotal goal than a scientifically proven one. An article published in the Washington Times, 3/28/2017, reported about a Scottish study that was completed in the International Journal of Obesity, on postal workers. They found that when the postal workers ambulated 15,000 steps daily, they maintained healthy waistlines, and the risks of cardiovascular disease were decreased. They compared the 7 hours, 7-mile day, of the Scottish mail carriers to those with desk jobs, sitting most of the day. The sitting group had a higher risk of diabetes and cardiac disease. This number can seem overwhelming. Why not just run a marathon? Why not just eat an elephant? In fact, how does one eat an elephant? That may seem easier than you think, one bite at a time.
The key to a healthier you, may be that simple. The American Heart Association and just about every other major medical group have a similar solution. Every single step you take is one better for you. That is correct, every extra step creates a healthier body. Pedometers, devices that measure steps, have come a long way. Now, our smart devices have the ability to measure our steps and we no longer require an extra/separate device. You can use built-in apps or you can download other apps to track your activity. Within the IOS App Store, you can find an APP called “Activity Tracker – Step Counter & Pedometer.” This free (paid upgrade) app promises to be able to track your all-day activity, without draining your iPhone battery, to eliminate the need to wear a fitness gadget, allows you to see your steps taken, the active calories burned and distance walked, you can visualize your hourly, daily, weekly and monthly activity at a glance, and you can set your weekly target and personal profile. The app currently has 60 reviews, as of 6/20/17, with nearly all 4 and 5-star reviews. I have read these and most of the people feel that this app is worth a look. Combining the information from the iPhone motion hardware, Apple Watch Support (Premium Pro upgrade for $2.99) and Apple Healthkit sync (Premium Pro version $2.99), the App strives to provide you the most up to date information about your daily activity.
Start with downloading the app from the IOS app store. There is a tutorial available, detailing the features of the application. You will need an iPhone 5s or newer for the built-in motion processor. The application claims to not drain your battery. You can choose to activate notifications, which will allow badges to show with the number of steps on the app icon. You will be able to see each day of the week, the number of steps, the distance (miles or kilometers), minutes of activity, calories burned (kilocalories) and then umber of floors that you have traversed. You will have a large wheel along the top of the app to see the hour-by-hour summary and you can tap the bottom circles to see a daily summary. Under settings, you need to set your personal details. This will allow the activity tracker to estimate your parameters. You can adjust your weekly goal of steps, change the units, gender, weight, and height. Lastly, you can import your historical step data from the Apple Health App.
To test the claim that the app will not drain your battery, I left the phone on, with the app running, while working for 4 hours. I did this for 3 days and then I had my phone on, without the app running, and found no negligible difference between the power consumption. I showed roughly a 40% power drain in 4 hours from just leaving the phone on, with or without the app running. An entire day test may be a better way to test this, but I have not completed this test to date. I have compared the data from the Apple Activity App and found that the steps were higher on the Apple app than the Activity Tracker App. Today I had 3690 measured steps measured by the Health Data App (15 hours standing, 1729 kcal resting energy, 1 flight of stairs, 297 kcal active energy burned and 1.7 miles walked). Taking the same data from the Activity Tracker App, it says I took 3019 steps, walked 1.3 miles, 135 kcal and 1 floor. Comparing each day there is about a 500 step difference. The steps on the built-in Apple App seem to be more sensitive. My phone typically resides on my right hip inside of a Catalyst Case and an Apple Watch rests on my left wrist (also in a catalyst case). I have found that the data between watch and phone are the same (which makes sense with the shared app data).
To test the accuracy of each of the trackers, I took 200 counted steps and then measured the recorded number with each of the trackers. The Apple Health app measured 195 steps and the activity tracker measured the same number of steps at 195. Each one measured just at 0.1miles, 9kcal and took 1 minute to walk the 200 steps. The data is better displayed with the Activity tracker app, seems to easier to summarize and to see graphs of the data based on day and weekly goal progress. Unfortunately, a large portion of the app is locked within the PRO version. For $2.99 you can link your Apple Watch, and the full health kit and you can see your hourly data, monthly and weekly statistics. If you try to click the large circle, (your steps for the day), it will momentarily bring up the hourly data, but will then fire the code to tell you to buy the full application. I wanted to enjoy the app, it seems to be well done, but why would someone pay $2.99 for something the iPhone already does? Personally, the app is very well polished and appears to do a great job at displaying your data. I love that it links to the native functions and pulls previous data.
I understand the need to generate income from the app. However, the pro features are really the meat of the application. I have not yet purchased the application, as I am still trying to decide if it provides me with functionality that I need. If you are training for a competition, having the hourly data may be beneficial to you. I would love to have watch support for my apple watch. If you do not have a watch, this feature may not be worth the $2.99. To summarize, the app does a great job at quickly detailing steps, mileage, kcal burned, time and number of floors. The data is essentially the same as your inborn app and the battery life is not affected by having the app running. You can touch the little circles and see the daily trend data. Touch the screen and it will change the graph from steps to calories, to distance. If you are looking for a reasonable app to track your data, definitely give this app a look. Without buying the full app, I am missing a lot of features that I would really enjoy. The app will help you to get moving, which is the ultimate goal. Use whatever tools will help you to fulfill your goal of better health. This app may help some individuals to generate a thinner, healthier life. That price is worth so much more than the $2.99 app cost.
DOWNLOAD – Activity Tracker – Step Counter & Pedometer – FREE