Did you know that you don’t need to lift extreme weights or do intense HIIT workouts to maintain a healthy lifestyle? As it happens, walking is one of the best physical activities out there. Improved cardiovascular health, increased brain power, and stronger joints are just a few of the powerful benefits of walking.

If you like to walk, pedometer apps are a great way to track your steps. Plus, when you use a pedometer app, all you need is your smartphone, which you likely already have with you. When you download a pedometer app, there’s no need to wear a fancy activity-tracking device. Here are some of the advantages and potential downsides of these apps.

How does the pedometer app work?

You probably know about pedometer apps, but how exactly does your phone track your steps? In general, pedometer apps work by using either your phone’s built-in GPS or accelerometer to interpret your movement as steps.

They are used to keep a record of how many steps you take throughout the day. Additionally, many pedometer apps calculate the distance you’ve walked and the time you’ve been active, as well as estimate the calories you’ve burned.

Most pedometer apps are free to download; However, some require a subscription to access all of their features. That being said, before subscribing, it is essential to know the pros and cons of using a pedometer app.

Benefits of using pedometer apps

The pedometer app makes it super easy to monitor your daily steps and general health. If you’re considering your options, here are the advantages of using a pedometer app.

1. Pedometer Apps Encourage You to Be More Active

If you’re the kind of person who needs motivation to get up and going, a pedometer app can really help. Almost all pedometer apps automatically calibrate a daily step goal for you based on your settings. Still, you have the freedom to customize and create your own step goal and even set one for the week.

There are even some pedometer apps that reward your walking habits by including motivational badges as incentives. Overall, when you have a goal to achieve, it can certainly encourage you to get out and walk more.

2. Pedometer apps track estimated calories burned, distance and time

In addition to recording your steps, pedometers track much more. In general, a lot of pedometer apps can also track your calories, walking distance, and activity time. When you’ve been active for a while, you can monitor your progress or view your insights on various graphs and tables. In addition, some pedometer apps also include a water tracker and a tracker for the flights of stairs you climb.

3. Pedometer Apps Are Cheaper Than Wearable Activity Trackers

You don’t need an expensive activity tracker or smartwatch to track your basic stats—all you need is a simple smartphone app. Wearable devices may sound cool, but they’re sometimes cumbersome and easy to forget to put on and charge.

Chances are you’ll always have your smartphone with you, which means your pedometer app can always be monitoring your movement.

4. Pedometer apps encourage healthy competition with others

Not all pedometers have community support, but some, like the Pacer app and the Fitbit app, offer this feature which can make a big difference. Competition in an online community can motivate you to take more steps as you compare your steps to theirs.

Plus, connecting with others within an online community is only one aspect. A pedometer app can also include other fun community aspects, such as competing in walking challenges, joining running groups, and more.

Cons of Using Pedometer Apps

Even though pedometer apps are a great way to count your steps and reach your goals without an overpriced fitness device, they do have some downsides.

1. Pedometer Apps Aren’t Always 100% Accurate

While even the best pedometer apps can effectively use your phone’s GPS or accelerometer to track your steps, you need to keep in mind that the data these apps collect isn’t always accurate.

Steps, calories and distance are sometimes miscalculated, which can delay or distract you from reaching your fitness goals. However, even though their accuracy is not always reliable, step counts should be used for encouragement and motivation rather than as an exact measurement of steps.