Walking mobile phone apps

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Counting steps...finding your way...escaping zombies

Medal Routes AppWhat's a mobile phone app?

An app is a piece of software that is normally downloaded to a smartphone or tablet to perform a specific function. Examples would be a weather app giving the latest forecast or a travel app giving public transport information.

The number of apps available for phones and tablets is vast*. One study suggested that in May 2013 the iTunes and Google Play stores contained 23,490 and 17,756 smartphone applications (apps) categorised as Health and Fitness - e.g. pedometer apps, activity tracking, calorie counters, fitness instruction, etc.*

It is also an area that is bound to become more important as more of us use smartphones and tablets. It’s estimated seven out of ten people in the UK already have a smartphone.

The user reviews and grading in the app stores are useful but it’s often a question of trial and error to see which ones you find useful. Considering the mind boggling amount of choice there does seem to be a lack of easily accessible impartial advice on which ones are most useful.

Using apps to help you get active

There is substantial evidence that web-based physical activity interventions are more effective if they incorporate behaviour change techniques such as self-monitoring, providing feedback on performance, goal-setting and rewards. How well apps use these established health behaviour change techniques to encourage more activity remains unclear. **

It seems that counting our steps is one thing but a bit more is needed to nudge us into changing our behaviour.

Read more about about the mobile phone apps out there.

 

* http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/11/1/97  

** http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/pdf/s12966-014-0105-0.pdf

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