Walker Tracker & the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability

Many of you have probably heard about the Heartbleed vulnerability, which has been given — rightfully — a huge amount of press coverage.

Good news: Walker Tracker is not affected.

Because we care very much about security we thought we’d post an update, even though  we were never affected by this vulnerability.

However, I strongly encourage you to follow the above link  (and this Q&A from the New York Times) to understand the risks posed by this vulnerability, as this issue affects a huge portion of the web and is of a critical nature.

We take security very seriously here, and do our best to make sure your information is safe. If you ever have any questions about security, doesn’t hesitate to contact us at support@walkertracker.com


Pedometer report of the day

Currently I’m wearing four pedometers  (testing, you know, wink wink). In today’s parlance, they call these nifty things ‘wearable devices’. Here’s today’s report, from an abnormally active day.

My activities:

  • One 24 minute run
  • Two ~40 minute bike rides
  • Some walking…

Pedometer readings:

  • Omron HJ-320: 7,488 (in coin pocket)
  • Fitbit One: 11,480 (in coin pocket)
  • Fitlinxx Pebble: 9,080  (worn on shoe)
  • Jawbone UP: 9,816  (worn on wrist)

Which one is right? It’s hard to know. They all have different strengths, and all of them have some difficulty with bicycling (side note: The Pebble does track bicycling, but the one I had is using an earlier firmware version).

But even when the activity is walking exclusively, these devices vary widely. The primary lesson, in my opinion, is if you’re running a corporate wellness program based around a challenge, it’s best to have everyone using the same device.

Go Red for Women on February 7th

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Here at Walker Tracker we support the American Heart Association’s efforts to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease by participating in their Wear Red Day event. Join us on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 —wear red— it’s everyone’s color.

Wearing red is just one step towards raising awareness; here’s what else you can do:

1. Know Your Heart Score

Know your numbers. Think you are eating right and getting enough exercise? It takes five minutes to make sure. Take the My Life Check and find out where you stand.

2. Live Healthy

Learn new ways to prevent heart disease with heart-healthy recipes and exercises.

3. Know the Signs of a Heart Attack

Learn how to identify a heart attack. Watch “Just a Little Heart Attack” video, starring and directed by Elizabeth Banks. Learn more about the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke here.

4. Start Walking

Get moving and start walking by starting or joining a walking club with friends or coworkers  and keeping track of your progress.

Get more information on healthy living, medical advancements, preventative care and support for heart disease patients here.



What to tell your boss (about wellness)

“Wellness program success depends on executive sponsorship”.

It’s probably the most common refrain uttered by corporate wellness consultants, (including Walker Tracker).

Clearly, this isn’t news to anyone.

Yet, in the hundreds of programs we run each year, organizations where the leadership team truly advocates healthy living in both words and deeds are more exception than rule. When we do run across engaged management teams, program results are clearly better.

We realize that the job of an HR or Benefits Manager can be really tough. And it’s not really your place to lecture the “C” suite on corporate priorities. But, when leadership opens the door, there are some key points you should try to get across.

1) This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Management needs to understand that wellness programs are about changing long-term behavior, and that takes time. Short-term programs and incentives can get you started, but true positive change (and ROI) won’t be realized for several years.

2) Wellness is just a component of the corporate culture, not a culture of its own.

This is a stumbling block for many organizations. Creating a wellness culture does not mean you’re lobbying to change the core company values that have brought business success. Whether your culture is a ruthless meritocracy or a feel-good team, adding wellness just means your organization will do business as usual – only with healthier employees. Your job is to deliver programs that communicate the importance of employee health to the company’s future success, in the context of your standard business practices. Make sure your boss understands this.

3) Employee communication should include messages from the top.

There’s no way around this one. Employees will respond positively to messages from the CEO, especially when the communication contains information on program goals and results. A key communication from executives should be in the form of program participation. Make sure to invite your management team to participate…visibly.

4) Wellness program ROI should not be measured by healthcare metrics alone

Most companies miss this point or don’t take the time/effort to establish key metrics for employee productivity. When you’re talking with management, work to establish the important measures of productivity for your organization and include these in your wellness program review process. Your healthcare costs may actually rise as employees visit their doctor and get tested. Over time, these costs are offset by the impact of improved health on employee output.

We’re happy to help you with ideas – just ask!

Squats – a new form of currency?

Imagine if physical activity were the exchange for goods and services.  We would be one fit species!

Want a coffee?  10 pushups.   Need a bus/train ticket?  30 squats.  Supersize that order of fries? 50 Burpees.  (What is a burpee?)

In honor of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia this is an option!  Instead of purchasing a subway ticket in Vystavochnaya Station, near Moscow, riders can perform 30 squats in front of a machine that, upon completion, spits out a ticket.

Genious.  I love it.  I wish I had thought of it.

Check it out! 



New Study Shows: Walk faster, live longer

A new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that the intensity of the pace of our walk matters just as much as the amount of walking we do.

The study focused on longevity amongst 38,981 participants that walked daily. Walkers had varying paces, some were speedy, some ambled, some strolled. It turns out that those who walked at a brisk pace were healthier and although a bit ghoulish, outlived the slow walkers.

So how do we know if we’re walking fast enough? To measure your speed you can use your Pebble or Omron pedometers, an app like Moves or find a 400 meter track at a local school, then use a stopwatch to time your walk.

And then what? Healthy exercise guidelines want us to aim for 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise. For walkers, this means we should aim for a pace of 15 to 16 minutes per mile.

Let’s pick up the pace Walkers and remember to stay happy and healthy – Read more about it at The New York Times


Happy Halloween!

Last night we migrated to a new mapping provider. In case those of you currently walking the Transylvanian Trek wondered why your maps began to look awfully…dark and uh…with maybe blood-red seas, it’s because we altered them for Halloween in celebration of our maps transition.

The skies will lighten back up and the waters will clarify tomorrow, wink wink.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 6.48.02 AM

Moves app tracks your bicycling/running speed, changes conversion

I’m really enjoying using the Moves app along with my Pebble. I bike every day to our new office — and we built it so that Moves plugs in the conversion for you. Since Moves knows how far you’ve traveled, and how long it has taken you, we can calculate the speed.

Using speed, we know how much effort was put into the activity (bicycling or running), and we can auto-convert based on that. Higher speed means a higher step conversion, of course.


I’m finding it very motivating to try to push for a faster time, knowing that my conversion will be much higher.

Moves iPhone app icon