Tracking your steps, and setting and reaching goals, can be a boon for health and self-confidence. And the good news is that embracing this habit is not only easy but free for most people! Your smartphone has a pedometer built right in.
While fitness-specific devices are designed to monitor and analyze lots of in-depth health data, a smartphone can absolutely cover any step-tracking needs for many people. A step counter is integrated into the Apple Health app on iPhones and the Google Fit app on Android phones. These are the very same apps you’d use with Apple Watch, Android Wear watch, or other fitness-tracker. Read on for tips to help you get started and stepping.
Apple Health on iPhones
By default, the Health app comes installed on your iPhone.
Tap the “Health” app icon on your home screen, and the Dashboard will appear, displaying “Steps,” “Walking + Running Distance” and “Flights Climbed.”
Tap the “Day,” “Week,” “Month,” and “Year” cards to check your step count, distance, and the number of flights of stairs climbed.
Your averages are also provided, making it easy to gauge progress over time. You may also notice interesting patterns, including your most and least active days, which can reveal opportunities to fit in more steps if needed.
Google Fit on Android Phones
Launch the “Fit” app on your Android phone, and set up Google Fit by following the on-screen cues. You’ll need to grant the app access to your phone’s sensors so that your steps can be monitored.
Once you’re all set up, open the Google Fit app any time to check out your number of steps, estimated calories burned, and other fitness information.
Note that this data is connected to your Google account to view it online as well.
Other free step-tracking apps for iPhone and Android
- Pacer: Highly rated, Pacer is a popular activity tracker with a free version that works well as a pedometer. You can opt to pay for the premium version if you want more detailed information about your activity levels, including how you compare to other Pacer users.
- Fitbit: No, you don’t need to own a Fitbit tracker to take advantage of the Fitbit app. Download it to your phone for use as a step counter or to track food and hydration. All in all, it’s a powerful and helpful tool for pursuing fitness goals.
- Sweatcoin: As you may be able to tell from the name, Sweatcoin is a free app that turns your daily step into money—in the form of currency, you can choose to spend on products, donate to charity, or even convert into bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Sweatcoin believes that by getting active, you benefit society and help save billions in healthcare expenses, so the app is a way to give you a well-deserved share in the value of your daily movement.
- Charity Miles: When tracked by the free Charity Miles app, your daily steps can be transformed into a fundraiser for the good cause of your choice. The app tracks all your movements, from running and walking to dancing and biking, and for every mile you log, you help earn money for your chosen charity.
Of course, relying on your phone as a pedometer makes it essential to keep it in a pocket whenever you’re in motion. Leave your phone on the counter while you clean the house, and you’ll undercount your steps. Cheers to the next steps in your fitness journey!