iOS Pedometer Apps Comparison and My Stairs Exercise

Hello, my friends. As some of you will know, for quite some time now, I have been following a self-designed indoor and outdoor exercise regimen. My indoor regimen consists of both body weight exercises — such as squats, push-ups and sit-ups — and resistance training with two 25-pound dumbbells, while my outdoor exercise consists of doing laps on the stairs outside of the building where I live. Being as some of you have shown some degree of interest in this subject, I thought I would share the following information with you. It is a bit long, but interesting to me, at least. 😀

As I have mentioned before, recently I upped my stairs exercise to 70 laps, meaning going down the stairs, turning around in the parking lot, and going back up the stairs. That counts as one lap. There are two flights of stairs with 9 steps each, with a platform in the middle of the two flights.

When I first started my outdoor stairs exercise, I was doing just 3 laps. Gradually, over time, I kept increasing my goal as my stamina improved. In recent weeks I jumped from 40 laps — which I had been doing for many months — to 50 laps, and then this past week to 70 laps.

I estimated that each lap was approximately 80 steps. I say “approximately” for several reasons. First, each time I turn around in the parking lot, the loop I make isn’t exactly the same size, depending on how and where the cars are parked.

Second, the length of each step I take is different, depending on whether I am walking on the flat pavement in the parking lot, or else going up and down the stairs.

At any rate, based on each lap being 80 steps, and then equating one step to one foot, that is how I determined that I needed to do about 70 laps in order to walk just over a mile. In other words:

80 steps x 70 laps = 5,600 feet

If I recall correctly, 1 mile = 5,280 feet. So, with 70 laps, I am walking a little more than a mile, each time that I do my stairs exercise ….. or at least so I thought! 😀

BUT, I wanted to get a better, more accurate idea of exactly how much I am actually doing. So, I did some online research and discovered that when I carry my iPhone on my person, the built-in “Health” app automatically records the number of steps I take, converts it to miles, records the time it took for me to do it, records the number of flights of stairs I have climbed, and allows me to manually enter a lot of other health-related information as well, such as height, weight, BMI, waist circumference, etc.

But I was curious regarding how accurate the iPhone’s built-in pedometer is, so I again went online to conduct some more research.

From reading various reviews, I discovered that the built-in pedometer can be off anywhere from 2% to about 21%. In other words, due to different factors, it can UNDER REPORT how much you are actually doing by 2% to about 21%. So basically, you are probably doing a little more than what these pedometer apps tell you.

So, based on that piece of information, I conducted more research to find other pedometer apps for iOS — the iPhone’s operating system — so that I could compare them with the built-in “Health” app.

Based on several reviews I read online, yesterday evening I ended up installing three other pedometer apps on my iPhone so that I can compare their results with the “Health” app. They are the following:

Steps (This is not StepsApp)

Even though I had already done my stairs exercise early yesterday morning around 4:30 AM, I was eager to check out the accuracy of the aforementioned four apps.

So, yesterday evening around 9:30 PM, after doing my indoor exercise about an hour earlier, call me crazy, but I went outside and did my stairs exercise a SECOND TIME for the same day! Yeah, it wiped me out, and I was a wet, sweaty mess by the time I was done! 😆

So, after coming back inside and washing up, I checked out the stats in all four apps for comparison, and that is when I received a pleasant and unexpected surprise. Here is a screen capture of the “Steps” app for last night:

You will recall that I estimated that my 70 laps would equate to about 5,600 steps, based on 80 steps per lap.

As it turns out, all four of the pedometer apps were pretty accurate and recorded anywhere from 5,482 to 5,486 steps. In the above image from the “Steps” app, it shows 5,486 steps.

The reason why none of the four apps recorded my estimated 5,600 steps, is probably because when I did my laps last night, due to the way the cars were parked, my laps were a few steps shorter than normal. If you multiply that small difference by 70 laps, it explains why the four apps recorded fewer steps than expected.

As you can see in the above image, it took me 54 minutes and 42 seconds to do the 70 laps at a steady but not too fast pace. According to the “Health” app, my walking speed last night was 2.8 mph.

Where the pleasant surprise came for me is in how many miles I had actually walked. Before installing the apps, I had erroneously assumed that I would cover just over a mile with the 70 laps of about 80 steps each.

However, that was based on my error of equating one step to one foot. In reality, the four different pedometer apps recorded that I had walked somewhere between 1.9 and 2.5 miles! In the above image, the “Steps” app shows that I walked 2 miles.

The reason why the four apps are not in agreement is because each app measures a step a little differently. Based on my height, each app equated one step to be about 2.0 feet to 2.5 feet in length.

For example, the “Health” app measured each step as being 27.2 inches in length.

Of course, walking on the flat pavement — as opposed to walking up and down the stairs — would result in longer steps.

At any rate, as you can see, to my surprise, I actually walked at least 2 miles in those 70 laps, instead of the one mile I had assumed. So I was quite happy about that. 😆

While I went up and down the stairs 70 times, as you can see by the above image, the pedometer apps only recorded it as being 43 floors, instead of as 70 floors. That is because the apps assign a certain number of steps to one flight or floor, and then divide the total amount of steps by that number.

So, what we can see is that insofar as distance is concerned, I actually did about twice as well as I had originally assumed, having walked two miles instead of one mile.

While I obviously feel good about that, nevertheless, I can’t toot my own horn, because there is a caveat to all of this, as I will now explain.

You see, according to the information I found on quite a few health-related websites, a man my age — I will be 70 in 2023 — who is in reasonably good health, should walk anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 steps PER DAY, and preferably 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day.

Based on my current outdoor exercise regimen, I am doing just over HALF of that, plus I am doing it every other day, and NOT every day, as is recommended.

Of course, to my credit, I am also doing 35 to 40 minutes of indoor exercise every other day as well, comprised of both body weight exercises — squats, push-ups and sit-ups — and resistance training with 25-pound dumbbells.

So, between my rotating indoor and outdoor exercise, I guess I am not doing too bad for a guy approaching 70 years old. But as far as doing my 70 laps every single day is concerned, I don’t know. I think it might be too much for me. I get very tired as it is exercising every other day. We shall see.

So there you have! Did that bore you? Did you learn anything interesting? Did you even take the time to read it all? 😂😂😂

Crazy Walker,


About Bill Kochman

Bill Kochman is a Christian writer, poet, graphic artist, online evangelist and founder and webmaster of the Bill's Bible Basics website and blog, as well as the founder and administrator of the Christian Social Network. His interests include tropical fish, Macintosh computers, web design, writing poetry, God's natural creation and his cats, Obsidian, Mischief and their progeny, such as Polo and Eljio.
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