Fitness and Health Gadgets: Tracking your Life

Track on your Phone

As nearly all smartphones have GPS built in, and many have an accelerometer, why not just use an app to track your activities? The simplest option is a pedometer app, but he problem is that the accelerometer in a phone is tuned for detecting when you rotate the screen rather than for getting the repetitive motion of your stride. Because of this, very few of the apps are accurate enough to consider using. You also have to have the app running, and unless your phone supports multi-tasking, that means having the app in the foreground, so you can’t use your phone as a map or check your email.

Get free distance and pace tracking in smartphone apps like Allsport GPS.Get free distance and pace tracking in smartphone apps like Allsport GPS.

GPS-based activity trackers like Allsport GPS, RunKeeper, Runtastic, Endomondo or iMapMy (with options to track running, cycling, walking, hiking, triathlon, skiing or snowboarding and general exercise) are much more useful because the position data and time mean you can see your speed and the distance you’ve travelled. You can see your maps on the phone or upload them to the Web site; most of them have online communities where you can team up with other runners or walkers and again the encouragement and competition can be a good incentive to keep you moving. The apps are usually available for several different phones: RunKeeper is one of the few apps available for Windows Phone 7 (as well as Android and iPhone), while Endomondo runs on the widest range - Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Mobile and featurephones that run Java apps, for example.

Combine tracking from dedicated devices with phone GPS using Runkeeper’s HealthGraph.Combine tracking from dedicated devices with phone GPS using Runkeeper’s HealthGraph.

The Symbian version of Endomondo and the iPhone versions of iMapMy and Runtastic work with ANT+ sensors, mainly for recording your heart rate, which is handy as some Sony Ericsson Android phones now have ANT+ built in. The Android and BlackBerry versions of Runtastic can also record data from a small number of Bluetooth heart rate monitors. RunKeeper goes further, as you can connect in multiple systems like Fitbit, BodyMedia and Withings to track more data, and then connect to Earndit to get points for your workouts.

You get more accurate and specific data using sensors, but if you want to keep track of your routes and get some encouragement to keep going, smartphone apps are a great way to start – and most of them are free.

This thread is closed for comments
1 comment
    Your comment
  • pdesai2019
    I owned fitbit and I loved it. Unfortunately, it kept getting loose from my belt and eventually lost it. Company is aware of this problem but they still haven't come up with new version.