How to track fitness using your iPhone
Your iPhone may not be the first thing that comes to mine when you are looking at gear and gadgets to help get you on track with your health and well-being, but you may be pleased to know there's a lot you can get out of Apple's phones. Read on to find out more.
You may not know it but your iPhone can actually track plenty of your activity without the need for extra accessories or apps. Beginning with the iPhone 5s, Apple added some extra hardware to their phone - the M7 motion co-processor. The extra processor inside the phone allowed it track all kinds of motion activity from a simple walk to full on run using the gyroscope, compass and accelerometer all contained within your phone.
With the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Apple upgraded to the M8 co-processor, which allows even more precise collection of your movement data iincluding a new barometer sensor so the latest iPhones now track your relative elevation. This gives it the ability to know when your jogs or runs take you up or down hill, as well as sensing when your go up or down flights of stairs.
The best thing about the M7 or M8 is that it is a completely separate, low-power processor. Using it for tracking will not drain your battery as much as these functions do with other phones as your phone that have to use the normal processor. With iOS 8, we also saw the release of the Health app which allows you to visualise some of the data that is collected by the M7 or M8. You can easily visualise things such as steps, but to really take advantage of the extra power of your phone you’ll need to get some apps downloaded.
There are a variety of apps that can take advantage of the motion tracking capabilities to help your track your walks, jogs, runs, sleep or any other activity. You can very easily find any of thousands of great apps by just doing a quick search on the App Store. Nike has plenty of apps aimed at general fitness as well as jogs and running, whilst apps like Endomondo can be used for all kinds of activity and not just running.
Speaking of running, you can also pick up popular app RunKeeper too which is a favourite with the guys here at UK Fitness Events, as is Runtastic. If you’re looking for something a bit unique away from these, then you may wish to give ‘Zombies, Run!’ a try. With this app you put in your headphones and are audibly transported to a world where zombies are roaming free and you need to run to save your life.
So if you’re looking to get the most from the fitness features built in to your iPhone, make sure you scour the App Store and get some good apps. It’s also worth remembering that whilst the M7 or M8 use less battery, you’ll still take a hit on the battery life if you do a lot of tracking, so it may be worth investing in a portable battery pack too. And don’t forget that you can greatly enhance the tracking by getting a dedicated fitness tracking band or watch.