iPhoney iPhitness — Amused Rant

My neighbor showed me how my iPhone comes with an app that tracks my “steps” during a day and tells me how I’m doing with my fitness and health goals. I will refer to this app as ❤ . Since my primary health goal is a functioning left hip, I’m not expecting ❤ to provide a LOT of help, but I was curious. I set it up.

I took a walk with the dogs, a distance I KNOW. I set up two other distance trackers with which to check the little ❤ app on my phone.

None of them agreed. One said I’d gone .94 miles and burned 127 calories. Another said I’d gone 1.08 miles and burned 150 calories. One said I’d gone 1.08 miles and burned 93 calories. Since ONE of them actually makes it possible to set up a “dog walk” rather than just a “walk” I kind of sort of trusted it most, but I think I walked a mile and burned off 100 calories. Not much, but when you have a bum hip that’s a marathon.

You see, I took physics in high school (and liked it), and I understand that fuel is burned by carrying mass over distance. It doesn’t matter at all how fast you carry it. That is also the definition of work. 1 mile walking (strolling, skipping, sauntering) = 100 calories just as 1 mile running. The thing about running is you get the “work” done faster. I’d like to run, but I can’t.

This afternoon, suspecting the little ❤ app thing was tied to GPS, I took it for a ride on my Airdyne. According to ❤ , my 12 miles in 50 minutes (not a bad time, not a great time) amounted to .85 miles and 2,140 steps. And, while the Airdyne sits loyally in my spare bedroom, it thinks it goes places. Its big wheel “believes” it’s going somewhere every time I ride, and it kindly tracks the “distance traveled” on its little, battery-powered computer.

Interesting experience. Since the best exercise for me right now is the bike to nowhere, the phone is out of a job. I can see how it’s great for people who CAN walk and walk and walk AND who carry their phone everywhere, but my walking is pretty much limited to a mile or two right now, and I don’t need more assaults to my self-esteem.

Beyond one’s steps, the ❤ tracks nutrition, sleep and “Mindfulness.” How in the world does a phone track one’s “Mindfulness”? And, no offense meant by the soon-to-be-uttered offensive remark, the whole idea of Mindfulness makes my teeth itch. On my phone is a nasty little video explaining “Mindfulness” in a computerized voice with a British accent, telling me to “take some time, be in the moment” and then instructing me HOW to be mindful. Then it wants me to record my “mindful minutes.” If the paradox there isn’t obvious then the fact that I’m a short overweight 66 year old lady with white hair and a limp is probably not obvious either.