Hit Your Steps
Back in late 2019, I had a health check up and was told I was overweight and close to becoming diabetic. This was a wake up call, I needed make some changes, so I did the usual things of trying to log what food I ate and making swaps to sugar free drinks etc.
I also signed up with Vitality Health to incentivise increasing my activity, along with taking advantage of a deal on an Apple Watch. This meant I got a reduced gym membership so I could use the swimming pool near our flat, I also started walking home from work instead of getting the bus. Logging all of this on my Apple Watch, so that the data could be sync’d back to Vitality and rewarded with free Starbucks or cinema tickets etc.
My morning swim on alternate days and the increased daily step count from walking home, would both earn me those rewards.
This was going great until lockdown hit of course, swimming pool had closed, and I wasn’t walking to work anymore. So walking locally once a day was the only real way to hit the step goals in the Vitality app. They have three tiers to steps of 7,000, 10,000 and 12,500 which earn you different numbers of points for your rewards.
It also wasn’t helped that all the rewards from Vitality dried up as cinemas and Starbucks were shut. This did change though with coffee at home options and a decent subscription to Peloton App for at home workouts was a nice alternative.
So once a day I headed out with some music on and walked a lap amongst the empty streets of Enfield, often to reach home and be under my step goal for the day. The problem was I had no idea how far 10,000 steps was for me.
I also started to find I was walking the same route everyday, so I started heading in a different cardinal direction each day, resulting in a flower like shaped heatmap building up.
Initially I would look at days I hit the goal and see where I walked and try to aim for that route. However eventually as a nerd I started building an app to extract the data from Apple Health in an easier way.
This barebones app grabbed the steps and walking distance totals over the last 90 days of logged walks, and gave me my “Steps per mile” meaning I could look at the list of workouts in Apple’s Fitness app and find a route that would probably hit my goal.
Work and trying to move home then got in the way, however since returning to freelancing I’ve had time recently to flesh the app into Hit Your Steps, version 1.0 is now available on the Apple App Store.
Adding the ability to find walks from the last 90 days will help you hit the distance needed for each of your goals. It will show you a map of the route, along with the time it took and number of calories you burnt (so you can also use it to close those rings too).
So if you have been logging plenty of walks with your Apple Watch and want to give it a try you can.
Side note on the original goal of losing weight, I managed to lose around 2.25 stone (14kg) over about 18 months. So far I have also managed to keep it off, since moving house I’m also cycling a lot which is helping too (and inspiring other app ideas, that I’m working on).