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Snapping out of a sedentary lifestyle can be difficult, but for the sake of your overall health and well-being, it’s necessary. If you’re ready to make a change but are too overwhelmed to get into a serious exercise regimen, the simplest and easiest thing for you to do is to get off the couch, dust yourself off, head for the door, and go for a walk outside. And a great way to hold yourself accountable is getting a step tracker app.
There are plenty of devices you can use for tracking steps: Fitbits, Apple Watches, or old-fashioned pedometers. Or you could just use your phone.
Depending on which step tracker app you decide to download, you can have something as simple as a start-and-stop counter, or one that provides a detailed breakdown of your most recent walk, providing additional insights such as distance traveled and your total caloric burn. Here are some of the best step tracker apps we recommend.
Health app and Google Fit
Before looking into other third-party step tracker apps, consider the ones that may already be on your phones.
The Health app on iOS has a built-in pedometer that counts the number of steps you take on a daily basis, and it does it without requiring you to download a new app. And in case you do have other apps that you already use to track other activities, this one consolidates all of the analytics these apps have collected into one place (including data from your Apple Watch, if you have one) so that you can view and compare all your progress in one place.
While not all Android phones have a built-in step tracker like iOS devices, the closest thing the operating system has is Google Fit (which is also available for iOS). Being a Google product, it’s one of the best options for Android in terms of compatibility, and it’s very easy to use. After downloading the step tracker app and linking it to your Google account, it will start tracking your physical activity in the background, whether it be walking, running, or cycling, and improve accuracy the more data it acquires and analyzes. It’s also designed with two activity goals in mind: You get “move minutes” for all your physical activity no matter how small, motivating you to make healthier choices, and “heart points” for doing activities at a higher pace or intensity.
Runtastic Steps has a ton of free features. On top of tracking your daily steps, walking distance, calories burned, and minutes active, the step tracker also generates a comprehensive weekly, monthly, and yearly overview of your progress. If you opt for a paid membership, Runtastic Steps also offers training plans for you to follow ensuring that you meet your fitness goals. For example, there’s a 12-week “walking for weight loss” program designed to increase your daily activity level until you hit your target weight.
StepsApp Pedometer is a simple and straightforward step tracker that does what it’s supposed to do without the annoying bells and whistles other complicated apps may have. It provides automatic step counting and analyzes your activity on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. It lets you set activity goals and notifies you when you’ve reached them. It provides a weekly report of comprehensive analytics presented through nice animated charts on a no-frills, black-and-neon interface. (You have six colors to choose from.) Additionally, the app supports more than 20 languages, Google Fit integration, and social media sharing.
The great thing about Pacer is its simplicity – there’s no need for an additional activity tracker or a website login (it will ask you to create one, but you can choose to skip it if you want to) to get it to work. It counts steps, calories, distance, and active time using your phone right after you download and fire up the step tracker app. It also uses your mobile device’s GPS to track outdoor activities on a map as well as offers simple workout guides for you to follow. Of course, like most apps, you get more if you decide to pay a premium, like the use of a “smart AI coach,” more workout programs and videos you can use, and the ability to compare your activity stats with other users.
This app has a high download count for a reason: It’s very simple to use. After hitting the Start button, as long as you have your smartphone in your hand and in some cases, in your pocket or bag, it will count and record your steps. No need for a login account to start using the step tracker. However, it is recommended that you enter your age, gender, weight, and step length under the app’s settings in order to display a more accurate number of burned calories, distance, and speed. Otherwise, it is the perfect app to use if all you want is a step count and nothing else.
If you’re looking for something unique and different in a step tracker app, Walkr is a fun alternative to consider. Rather than just count your steps and plainly present you with activity stats at the end of the day, it gamifies the act of walking and lets you explore a galaxy, nurture space creatures, and discover planets as you achieve your fitness goals. Your “Walking Energy” fuels the ship that will allow you to discover planets and beyond in this super-cute mobile game designed to add some pep in your step.
Jam Kotenko is a technology reporter who specializes in coverage of Instagram, Facebook, and other social media apps. Her work has been published by Digital Trends, Bustle, and Gotta Be Mobile.