Is your pedometer keeping up with you?

Wireless devices like Fitbit and Garmin claim to accurately measure a person’s activity levels throughout the day. As the devices continue to gain popularity, researchers at University of Florida’s Department of Health Policy and Outcomes have tested various devices and their accuracy across age groups.

Their findings? The devices aren’t as accurate as they claim to be. Here’s the nut:

“Over the past 5 years, wearable devices, smartphones, and apps have become more ubiquitous, and have become widely recommended tools of behavioral change for weight loss by the general press, the health and fitness industry, and health care providers. In this study, we evaluated the accuracy of a selection of recently available wearable wrist-worn devices and smartphones with respect to step counting, as well as the impact of several variables of interest, most notably age.

BMI, height, weight, and dominant hand do not seem to impact the accuracy of step count. However, age does affect accuracy, and some devices tend to underestimate the number of steps walked by older users of wearable devices. This finding may be a minor issue for people trying to lose weight by adhering to a 10,000-step walking program, as they may walk more than planned. However, older and/or slower participants focusing on increasing physical activity may be negatively affected, and may struggle mentally if they fall short of 10,000 steps.”

Read the full study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information here.

How does this apply to you, and to your Walker Tracker walking program? The most important thing to remember, perhaps, is that raising your activity level is relative, not absolute. With current technology, your device can’t always accurately tell you exactly how many steps you’ve taken, or how far you’ve traveled throughout the day. But it can give you a baseline average. It’s up to you to raise that average slowly over time. 5,000 steps on your Garmin might be 7,000 steps on my FitBit. The most important thing is to keep raising that average, a little every day.



Linked Study: Mobile Device Accuracy for Step Counting Across Age Groups
Copyright ©François Modave, Yi Guo, Jiang Bian, Matthew J Gurka, Alice Parish, Megan D Smith, Alexandra M Lee, Thomas W Buford. Originally published in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth (, 28.06.2017.

Where our data comes from – the marketshare of various connected devices

What happened this year in the land of connected activity devices? It has been a disruptive few years for a lot of ‘internet of things’ companies.  Fitlinxx, the maker of Pebbles, went out of business, Withings was acquired by Nokia, Misfit was acquired by Fossil, MapMyFitness was acquired by Under Armour, and Jawbone stopped making consumer devices. Where does that leave us?

As of today, here’s where Walker Tracker data comes from.



What about all those tiny slices at the top of the graph?

the breakdown of the small slices of data from the above chart

How does this compare to last year?


Our data sources from July 2016

It’s pretty easy to see from the data that Fitbit is still king and gained share year over year. The trends show a rise in Apple Health, Fitbit, Google Fit, and Garmin. Decreases are seen in manual entry (these are from the traditional, non-connected devices — they still retain a healthy following on Walker Tracker and are, by nature, the most privacy sensitive of the lot), Jawbone, and pretty much all other devices.

We do not connect with all devices (we added MapMyFitness today!), though we constantly evaluate to see which devices we ought to connect to. Let us know what you think of your device in the comments.

Devices and Apps galore! Link and send data to Walker Tracker directly

Walker Tracker: devices we sync with

Walker Tracker pairs with the all major brands of wireless devices and apps to make it easy to transfer your data. Clip on your pedometer or band or drop your phone in your  pocket and get movin’!

Wireless wearable Devices:

  • Fitbit
  • Garmin
  • Misfit
  • Jawbone
  • Withings
  • Striiv
  • Microsoft


Direct integration within the Walker Tracker App:


Looking for alternatives on your Smartphone? You don’t need a device, your phone will do the tracking. Try one of the following:

  • Moves-app for Android or iOS (in app tracking)
  • Withings HealthMate for Android or iOS (in app tracking)
  • Fitbit for Android, iOS or Windows (in app tracking)
  • Argus by Azumio for Android or iOS (in app tracking)
  • MyFitnessPal


Check your program’s Help page for instructions on pairing your device or app. Program administrators can contact their account manager to turn on the ability to pair these devices directly with Walker Tracker.

What is your favorite device?  Let us know in the comments below.

wireless pedometer / activity tracker integration update

New this week: Garmin devices!

I’ve been using my Garmin Vivofit with much success. 351162-garmin-vivofit


This brings device companies that Walker Tracker integrates with to EIGHT. Here they are:

  • Fitlinxx Pebble
  • Fitbit
  • Misfit
  • Garmin
  • Jawbone
  • Apple Health
  • Withings
  • Moves App

And of course, for programs that desire it, we allow manual entry as well.

Let us know what your favorite device is.


Why counting counts

What’s all this tracking business, anyway? Everyone seems to be hopping on the bandwagon to get the brand new fitness devices. In 2014, interest in purchasing wearable fitness devices quadrupled (according to a CEA Study). There seems to be a few outstanding reasons why:

  1. Motivation – we need a reason to be active.
  2. Monitoring fitness goal progress – Like Pearson’s Law, which we at Walker Tracker firmly believe, “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improved exponentially.” This one rings true for me; I look back at my step log from a year ago to check in and make sure I’m progressing or at least maintaining my activity level.
  3. Monitoring physical activity level and intensity – how hard did you work?

For all those competitive folks out there – it’s a great way to make fitness fun.   On Walker Tracker you have the option to compare your steps with your friends or challenge them in a competition. Need more reasons to join in the tracking revolution?   Here is a bit on what we use and why we count:

Taylor – My Fitbit keeps me motivated and is a constant reminder to move more. I can tell the difference in my daily activity if I put my wristband on in the morning compared to when I forget. It’s also fun to reach a goal everyday – breaking my long term goals into manageable pieces makes it easier and more fun!

Steve – I’ve been using the Withings plus activity tracker on my hikes here in the PNW and in the city.   It’s a good reminder to push myself to walk more on those rainy weekdays when motivation is lacking. The elevation tracking feature and heart rate monitor is a cool added bonus that gets infrequent use but is good to have. Comes with a free app so I can pair it with my android phone for weekly overview and better stats.

Nikki – I use the exercise app, Run Keeper! It keeps a log of my exercise, sends me motivational push notifications, let’s me take a photo of my exercise/run, and accurately tracks my distance and elevation. This app is great for everything from trail running to walking with a friend.

Jillian – I like mapmyride because it has virtually ALL activities as options (even hiking with light/medium/heavy backpack options). I like how it tells me when I have PR’d (beat my personal record) on a course (running or biking) and also tells me what other people have don’t that course and how well they did. Its also neat know when I do a “climb” on my bike and how long it was and what the grade of the road was.  I can control my music through the app, but I don’t usually use that feature. It will also allow me to record an outdoor activity, like a hike, even if I don’t have internet…it just downloads the information as soon as I am back within cell range. And of course being able to post to Facebook is fun too.

Ben – I have worn a tracking device non-stop since December of 2005. Since it’s in my job description to test new devices, I often wear two or three. Currently I’m wearing a Fitlinxx Pebble, a FitBit One, and I’m using both Moves App and Healthkit’s internal pedometer on my phone. None of them agree with each other, of course — and that’s been my experience with all devices so far. However, accuracy is less important than our ability to judge how we do relative to previous days. And this is what I was most struck by (and still am) — the ability to turn something that was formerly subjective (how much physical activity I got in a day) into objective, quantifiable data. I’m a strong believer in one of our own mottoes, ‘that which is measured, improves’ — and this has certainly been the case for me. The measuring of my own data has made me more mindful and healthier.

Blanca – I wear a Fitbit Flex daily. I love how easily it syncs to my account and it is pretty generous with step counts. To be honest, I didn’t spend more than a couple of weeks making manual entries before I switched to a wireless device and I haven’t looked back since.

The drawbacks of the Flex are that it took me a while to get used to putting the wrist band on first thing in the morning and I occasionally forget to charge it/misplace the charger. The Fitbit doesn’t track outdoor cycling well (if at all) so I still need to convert any biking on the Walker Tracker activity converter.

I also wear a Fitlinxx Pebble, which gives me less steps and therefore I assume a more accurate count of my daily activities. Because the Pebble is worn at the waist and not the wrist it doesn’t give me extra steps for washing dishes and other arm-shaking movements that don’t really deserve much credit. That being said, occasionally it feels like I just didn’t get the credit I deserved which could be user error (the Pebble should be secured tightly to the waist or shoe). The Pebble, like the Fitbit doesn’t accurately track outdoor cycling steps.
Another plus to the Pebble is that it uses a coin battery, so I don’t need to remember to charge it before heading on a long hike or weekend adventure.

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.

Walker Tracker now integrates with Moves app for Android

moves-logo-206x206Congratulations to our integration partner Moves! Today they released an Android version of their popular iPhone app that integrates with Walker Tracker.  Get instructions on integrating Moves and Walker Tracker on your devices page, or drop us a line to talk about having Moves integrated into your program.flat-storyline-full-us


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

New: Track your steps auto-magically with Moves

Moves iPhone app iconIn addition to the Pebble, we have integrated with the fantastic iPhone and Android pedometer app Moves.

Simply connect Walker Tracker with Moves, and your step data will be added automatically. But not just step data: Moves tracks bicycling and running as well.



Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 10.56.50 AM

WT Community users who are ‘pro’ can use this feature immediately by accessing the ‘Your Devices’ page. Look under the drop down on your stats page. Companies and organizations using Walker Tracker – please have your administrator contact us about adding Moves into your program.

Hooray for the Pebble! – Pebble wins’s Reader’s Choice award for best computer-linked pedometer

Congratulations to our partner Fitlinxx! They won the top spot in the Reader’s Choice award at for the Pebble wireless pedometer. Since I did a long experiment on wireless pedometers and came out in favor of the Pebble as well, I’m happy to hear my own research was validated.

b250It’s a very nifty device. And for larger programs it’s ideal for its ability to wirelessly synch hundreds or thousands of devices around a single synch-point, without requiring any additional toil on the part of the end-user.