Useful Apps for Walkers

Phones these days offer us much more than just talk and text, over time they have been developed to receive emails and other internet services.  Then came the birth of “Apps”.  These can be really useful additions to your phone and can work alongside pre-existing software on your phone or work as standalone applications.  I can’t talk for many phone brands but I can talk about iPhone apps and software that I use on my phone.  This blog will give you information about apps that I find useful along with some websites that are with checking out before you have even left the house.

I’m sure in previous posts I have mentioned Map My Run.  I find this app really useful for tracking how far I have traveled/how far I want to travel and keep a track of how long I have been out of the house for.  The app saves your walk as a map on your screen and you can clearly see where you have walked.  The app also gives you space to record any notes that you may find useful.  There is a paid option for this app but I am still using the free version as I find that what it provides me with is sufficient.  There are lots of features which I find interesting on the free version, such as a breakdown of speed – so you can see where you were faster and slower along the way along with the climb that your journey took.  I really like this feature as it has shown me that the path I take is on an incline when I thought it was relatively flat.

The Health app which comes pre-loaded on iPhones is another nifty app.  This app measures your steps (so long as you are carrying your phone), walking distances, flights of steps climbed, and a whole host of other things.  If you have an iPhone and carry it everywhere with you then it may eliminate the possibility of needing a dedicated fitness band.  The only down side to this, for me, is that I don’t tend to carry my phone around with me in work or at home – it’s usually left on the side or on my desk or in my bag.

My Jawbone App.  I can’t speak for any other fitness bands and their apps but I really like the Jawbone app.  As mentioned in other blog posts I have a Jawbone Up2 which needs the corresponding app to work on your phone.  The app measures your steps moved, miles traveled, active minutes, sleep and other things like weight and calories (though these need to be input by the user).  I don’t tend to use the weight and calorie sections very often as I am more interested in the sleep function and the step counter.  I really like that you can join up with friends, add them on the app and create challenges with them.  There is also an alarm function which, when set, makes the band vibrate on your wrist.  I have an inactive alarm which buzzes every 15 minutes when I am inactive which reminds me to get up and move about.  You can set this for different duration or turn it off all together.  It also vibrates twice when you reach 10,000 steps which is handy as you don’t need to keep checking the app every few minutes when out and about.

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Weather App.  Any weather app that works for you and shows the weather in your area or the area that you will be walking in is really useful on your phone.  I have 2 on mine – BBC Weather App and Grumpy Cat Weather.  Both of them are really useful though I have found Grumpy Cat Weather to give a more local version of the weather where as the BBC version is more regional.  Either are good though.  These apps are useful as you can decide on what to wear and pack with you before heading out and whether the walk you have planned will be safe in the weather conditions that may happen – it helps keep you prepared.  If you think you may not have signal or internet access when out it is worth taking a screenshot of the hourly weather break down and saving it on your phone just to see if and when the weather is going to change.  This is handy if rain or high winds or storms are predicted.

There are a whole host of apps out there, some of them good, some not so good.  I have downloaded and tried lots of different ones in the past and most have been deleted off my phone for one reason or another – mostly because they were not quite what i was looking for or because they were fiddly to navigate.  Whatever you do, I would recommend researching an app before you download it, and when you decide to download it, go for the free version first and give that a go.  Some of the full versions of apps can be really expensive and if it’s not got what you are looking for or easy to use at the free version then the paid version will probably not be any better.

And now to share yesterdays stats…did I make 10,000 steps?

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I did indeed!  🙂

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