Fitness Tracking is bad for my Mental Health

iOS and iPadOS

I have been getting into fitness of late. While my body is getting better, my brain hurts. I wish I could get a consistent quantification of health data. I use a combination of the stock Health, My Fitness Pal, Blind Square, and Zombies Run. I use either a treadmill, or the great outdoors. I will use today's walk for an example of my issues. Let's check the distance. Blind Square said I walked 5.1 miles. Zombies Run, using a set stride length step count said 5.01 The Health app dashboard said 5.67 miles. I cannot find a way to determine how the Health app turns steps into distance. It doesn't appear to have a setting for stride, and doesn't seem to ask for GPS access. How about calories? My Fitness Pal claims I burned 917 calories. Zombies Run said I burned 240. The Health app has a function for calories, but it is blank. What matters most is that I'm eating less, and moving more. The numbers aren't that important. But it drives me crazy that the apps all come up with different stuff. I want one number I can hang my hat on, and work with.



Submitted by JN.V on Sunday, August 30, 2015

2 apps will never give you the exact same results, each developer use a different way to get to their stats. Is there a spesific reason why you use all those apps and not only one? My advice will be to pick the one which works best for you in terms of accessibility and functionality then delete the rest. Yes you might say but what if that app I choose isn't very acurite and mesures the wrong distance etc? Well that won't matter, what matters is that you see your own personal improvement and progress over time. For example if your goal is to eventually walk 10 miles per day and by using that one single app you can see your weekly progress, say the app shows that you're walking further and further each week before stopping to rest, then you are closer to reaching your goal even if that app isn't 100% correct, it might show 1 mile where in actual fact it's 1.1 mile, but it will be consistent each and every day.
Another example is if you are trying to lose weight, 2 bathroom scales of the exact same type placed next to each other will never give you the exact same reading, but as long as you use the exact same scale to weigh yourself each day or week then you will be able to properly monitor what's going on even if the scale isn't 100% acurite to the gram it won't matter.

Submitted by DPinWI on Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thanks for your input.

I disagree with your bathroom scale analogy. In this case, it's one bathroom scale in the form of the motion sensor on my phone. The various apps are getting their data from that one source. While still imperfect, I think a closer bathroom scale analogy would be to say that by switching the speech language, or switching from kilos to pounds, the weight would change.

I use Blind Square so I know where i am.
I use Zombies Run to keep me from being bored. Especially on the treadmill.
I use My Fitness Pal as a food journal, but it also tracks calorie from exercise.
I use the Health app as it's the stock, Apple solution, shows me data by day, week, or month, and hopefully most accurate. But it doesn't appear to be that at all.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Monday, August 31, 2015


I feel your pain. I am not overly familiar with the Apps that you are using but it may be worth checking whether there is scope to add personalised information about yourself.
For example, the UP24 App as well as the Activity App on the Apple Watch have data entry points for you to enter your age, sex, height and weight. With this information each App will have a better chance of calculating the length of your stride and calories burned in pursuit of that swimsuit body.

Failing that, simply do what every statistician worldwide does and select the results most advantageous to your goals.



Submitted by DPinWI on Monday, August 31, 2015

I love cherries, and as suggested, I have been cherry picking the data to suit my fancy.

Submitted by Mike Freeman on Monday, August 31, 2015

In reality, since none of the apps publish their algorithms for determining what they purport to be your health stats, we have no way to determine whether or not *any* of the apps are accurate. I say ditch them all and go have a beer!Seems to me my body is telling me it's beer-o'clock pretty soon!

Submitted by DPinWI on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Meet you at the pub. Destination walking is a thing these days.

I agree that the logic behind the so called stats is anything but transparent. I have reconciled myself to the data being in some alien scale, and to just go with trends. I ignore that they claim to be presenting them as something approaching a recognized standard unit.

Submitted by SwizzGavin on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The apps are made for your workout. They are just the tools to track your wellness, at least, they are doing the great job to motivate your exercise. Each app or developer has its own different logic, they can't give you all the exactly same states, just don't be too serious about the exact result.