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Turn Your Smartphone into an Accurate Walking and Fitness Device

We welcome this guest post from Chel Aisha, thank you for this great contribution to our blog...

The capabilities of smartphones are steadily growing. Before the turn of the century, most handsets performed only the most basic of functions – calling, sending sms and emails, as well as a bit of GPS and WAP features. Today, however, smartphones can take high resolution photos and videos, play HD TV shows and movies, transfer money, create office files, and more. Some even have fingerprint sensors, as well as waterproof and dustproof ratings. Due to the convenience and assistance these gadgets bring, they are now used in a wide range of activities, whether professional or personal. In this article, the use of a smartphone for one personal activity that’s important to everyone will be discussed: exercise.

Among other things, the modern smartphone is utilised in monitoring calorie intake, workout support, and recording weight loss/gain progress. Additionally, there are numerous types and forms of exercise available to anyone, but the simplest of these is walking.

Granted that it can’t be formally classified as a type of exercise, research still shows that
walking for a minimum of 20 minutes per day may increase your lifespan by 7 years. At the end of the day, the goal of doing exercise is to keep you healthy and improve your overall wellbeing, including longevity.

Furthermore, there are
other benefits from walking regularly. These include improved moods and creativity boosts.

Using Your Smartphone for Walking

nordic walking 1369306 1280In an ocean of mobile apps available to users, it’s almost always guaranteed that you’ll find a program that will aid you on your interest. Combine that to the power of your smartphone, and you can make the most out of any activity – in this case: walking.

To start off, there’s a
slew of pedometer apps that can accurately track the number of your steps. Given that it’s recommended for adults to have at least 10,000 steps per day to help maintain good health, apps of this kind will come in handy.

There are also
apps for walking that provide info on routes, terrain, and other relevant data. Some even have extra features, such as iFootpath, which can give you full directions, a bit of history on the place as well as some of its images. Moreover, the comments and ratings section provide insight from other people, and this in turn would guide you on which places for walking are best for you and your companions, if you have any.

Lastly, due to the GPS capability of smartphones, most of these apps can show real-time progress on where you are on the track. Maps may be viewed and navigated on the screen as well. This is great for plotting your route or for finding your way in the middle of the trek, especially if it’s your first time in the area.

Make Sure You Have a Healthy Smartphone Too

high grass 1504280 1280In terms of hardware, recent and current smartphones will rarely have problems regarding tracking statuses and browsing or opening maps. Connectivity issues also vary more based on the location itself and your carrier, rather than on the phone model.

When it comes to software on the other hand, remember to apply the necessary updates. More advanced apps get introduced each month, and sometimes these require updated devices. Doing so will also enhance your mobile experience as these developments were designed to eliminate flaws and fix bugs.

You can either search for updates manually or you may
register your device with your data provider to get notifications whenever an update is available. If it comes with an OS upgrade, then that’s even better. Even though issues sometimes arise on the first rollout of an OS upgrade, usually they get addressed right away through patch releases.

Walking is a great activity, aside from it being helpful to your wellbeing. Add the excitement of exploring paths with the help of your smartphone, and you have yourself a fun and worthwhile health regimen.

Written by Chel Aisha
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The length of our walking guides is given in miles and rounded to the nearest full mile (whole number) for simplicity. For short walks (of less than 2 miles) or walks that have a length that ends in .5, a more accurate walk length may be given in the first section of the walk introduction. For example, the Length in the header may be listed as 6 miles, and the introduction may confirm that the exact length of the walk is 5.5 miles. The walk length is calculated from the GPS file that was created by the walk author GPS tracking the walk whilst walking, using the iFootpath App GPS Tracker, meaning it is very accurate. Our bespoke tracker is particularly detailed and plots a walkers position about every 10 seconds. The tracker is calibrated to match two other reputable map and walking sources, Ordnance Survey and Nike. As with all standardised walk and map lengths, the distance does not take account of hills and slopes, just the distance you would measure using a piece of string on a flat map version of the terrain, so hilly walks will feel longer than stated. If you track the route using another GPS App or Tracker App or Fitness Device, you can expect the distance you record to be different due to different calibrations. This is particularly true of those Apps and devices that count your motion and steps – these can only guess the distance you have travelled with each step and so are much less accurate.

Grade (Boots)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult the terrain is that you will encounter along the way. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. It takes into account things like hills, path surfaces and obstacles (like stiles, gates, steps and rock scrambles). An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 Boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well-worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 Boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles that require scrambling with your hands. Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

NOTE: Do be aware that the level of stamina required for any walk will vary depending on both the walk length and the difficulty grade - you should only walk within your limits.

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