Saku Eerola | 12.11.2020

Occupational physiotherapist tests: Tracking the step count with a mobile app

Mars kaamos! -step campaign

I stopped to think about what devices I have used for measuring my own steps before Heltti’s Mars kaamos! step campaign. The first and almost only option for me has been a watch. It is easy to keep with, it registers all the steps, and you can follow the steps of the previous days and weeks if you want. Nowadays phone travels with in the daily chores almost the same way. As a result, I started to find out what kind of apps there is for tracking steps with phone and I compared them by my own experiences.

The first glance to the app listing in the Google Play Store with the keyword “pedometer” already said a lot about the offer. There is many applications available and some of them included calorie measurement as well as various step challenges and weight loss counters. Basic versions were also easily found. Some of the apps were chargeable, but the majority of them were free to use. Naturally, in the free versions the ads and promotional videos got to be seen quite a lot. I ended up trying four free pedometer apps:
1. Pedometer – Step Counter Free & Calorie Burner
2. Askellaskuri – EasyFit Askelmittari
3. Kävellä askelmittari
4. Google Fit 

I compared the results of these apps and took the step counts of my watch as a comparison. I had almost five measurement days, so with this tryout there’s not enough data for some kind of international research. However, the applications gave very consistent step results of +/- 1 step per day. Only Pedometer got +/- 500 steps in a couple of days compared to other apps. Compared to a watch, the majority of applications gave fewer steps, with the exception of the Pedometer, which registered more steps. However, on the measurement days phone did not travel along with me all the time same way than a watch, so understandably the steps did not gather in the same way. On measurement days when I didn’t excercise separately, the number of steps was very similar between the watch and the apps.

The app that I liked the most was a Google Fit. In addition to the basic and clear data view, the ads shined with absence. Apple Health is a similar application in bitten apple phones. Unfortunately, the apps did not obscure the fact that my own number of steps was less than 10,000 steps for many days. So now is the good time for me too to march in the Mars kaamos! -step campaign.

Saku Eerola

Saku Eerola: Heltin työfysioterapeutti, jolla arjen askeleet kertyy asioita miettiessä tai pallon perässä juosten. Tälle syksylle miettiminen on jäänyt vähemmälle, mutta onneksi pallo on kulkenut mukana. Kiinnostuksen kohteina minulla on liikkeen biomekaniikka ja liikkuminen yleisesti.