We bloggers are known for being a pretty lazy bunch. The only exercise we really do is tap on a keyboard and walk as far as the fridge in the kitchen to stock up on energy-boosting snacks. But when I got a dog, and that dog demanded to be walked twice a day (with serious consequences for non-compliance), I realised the value of more exercise.
Suddenly the walks were making me feel much better, my legs were getting stronger and my general energy levels were rising. I even found out about the gorgeous blonde neighbour in the next block over (and having a cute dog didn’t hurt).
I read an article in Men’s Health recently that said that we should be walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. Which isn’t really a lot if you break it down – walking around your apartment, running up and down stairs, going to work or school, walking round the streets doing shopping… those steps quickly add up. Lifehacker also published an article which said that sitting down will shorten your lifespan, and you should be moving around more. If a shortened lifespan doesn’t get you up and moving, then nothing will.
But how do you actually measure those steps, and how can you stay motivated to get up off that chair and move? That’s where Accupedo comes in. A free app for iPhone and Android (complete with paid pro iPhone version), it clocks the number of steps you take, every time you move (assuming you keep it switched on). It will also goad you into doing better the next day.
Today I will be looking at the iPhone version of the app, but as I said, it is also available for Android too.
Calibrating The App
After installing it, you need to go into the settings and calibrate the app, so it measures things properly. The most important one to get right is the length of your stride. Everyone’s stride is different, and the app needs to know this so it can measure your steps accurately. To do this, go to Settings > Personal Profile > Walk Stride.
As you can see from the diagram, the stride is measured from the back heel of one foot to the back heel of the other foot. Either measure it with a tape measure, or give it your best educated guess. I estimated mine to be 55 centimetres (the unit of distance can be changed to Imperial for all of our North American or Olde Englishe friends).
Under the Personal Profile menu, you should also take a moment to enter other vital statistics such as your weight and what your goal is, in terms of number of steps. Don’t lie about your weight, as that will impact your stride, especially if you are overweight. The same menu also allows you to decide your Daily Goal of how many steps you want to achieve. As I previously mentioned, 10,000 is the ideal goal, but if you want to lower your expectations you can go for something a bit easier to begin with.
If you look at the settings box above, you will see some other settings that need tweaked. For example, state the hours of the day that you are active, whether your activity is walking or running, and how sensitive the app should be in terms of measuring your steps.
I want to take a moment to briefly discuss the Consecutive Steps option. This is important, and it goes slightly hand-in-hand with the Sensitivity option (which doesn’t refer to how much it should be in touch with its feelings). What it does mean is that when we are standing or sitting, we always fidget, or move slightly to the left or right, either consciously or subconsciously. It’s normal and everyone does it. But if you want Accupedo to accurately measure your steps, you have to tell it when to start logging, and when to ignore your involuntary bodily movements. I mean, slightly moving in your chair or hopping from one foot to the other is not exactly “steps” is it?
So “Consecutive Steps” is basically how many steps you need to take before Accupedo wakes up and starts logging your movements. By default, it’s set to 10, but you can lower it to 4 (which I have done, as I felt that 10 was too high). Have a good think about this, as it will affect how many steps get logged each day.
The Main Screen
The screenshot above shows the main Walk tab of Accupedo, and there’s a lot of information on-screen at once.
At the top of the screen is your current goal and progress to meeting that goal. The big number “1,222” is the number of steps I have taken so far today, and this will obviously increase as I move around with the phone. The stats underneath that are fairly self-explanatory: distance travelled today, average walking speed, the number of calories burned, and the total amount of time walked. Below that is a graph showing the time of day when I was most active (around 2pm it seems).
The red button in the middle enables you to pause the steps if you want it paused for any reason. And tapping it again will restart it. Simple.
The Chart and History tabs provide slightly more detail than that which you see on the Walk tab, albeit with the ability to filter your history by day, week, month, and year. The History screen can also be backed up via iCloud or email, so you can keep track of your progress.
It’s A Competition!
As I said before, this app makes you want to get up and beat your previous score, and that’s good because the whole point of such an app is to get up and move. In an effort to really get you going, like Rocky Balboa running through the streets of Philadelphia, you can also make playlists from music stored on your phone (“Eye Of The Tiger” will really make the app explode).
Give the app a spin and let us know in the comments what you think of it. Has it made you get off your seat more and move around?