These days it’s common to see people wearing all sorts of activity-tracking gadgets, ranging from wristbands and watches to tiny devices that can be clipped onto your waistband or even hidden in your pocket.
But, did you know that if you already own an iPhone or Android phone, you can track your activity without having to purchase any additional gadgets? Moves is a free app that automatically records your walking, cycling, and running activity. The app uses sensor and location information from your phone. You don’t need to keep your phone in any specific place to track activity; you can keep it in your pocket, backpack, or purse just like you usually do.
The Moves app not only records your activity, but also provides a summary of distance, duration, steps, and calories burned for each activity. The activity tracker is always on, so there is no need to remember to turn it on or off throughout the day.
Activity-tracking devices tend to be expensive, ranging from $50 – $200. The Moves app is free! The user interface is clean and simple; it presents data in an interesting story-like format, showing the places you visited and time spent walking, cycling, and running. It also recognizes motorized travel as “transport.” You don’t have to launch the app to track your activity since it’s always running in the background.
Since the app relies on sensor and location information, the data isn’t very accurate when walking or running on the treadmill or elliptical. It also won’t pick up activity data from an indoor cycling class. Also, because the app is always running in the background, it will consume a little extra battery power. And there may be times when you walk around and exercise without having your phone on you – in those cases, your activity won’t count.
Since most people tend to have their phones on them most of the time, the Moves app is a great way to capture daily activity. It’s ideal for people who exercise outside—there, the tracking seems to be accurate and reliable for people who are looking to get a general sense of how many steps they are taking each day. We would recommend trying out the Moves app before investing in an expensive activity-tracking device. It will give you a chance to see how tracking your activity may encourage you to positively change your habits, like taking extra walks throughout the day.
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for assistance with finding the right wellness resources for you!