My State of 2019 – Fitness Tracking and Health

Walkmeter and Apple Watch

I’ve been using fitness tracking on my phone since iOS 4 when Apple finally started allowing, even though limited, background processes to run. This allowed apps to finally receive GPS updates without needing the phone to be open. The best app I found, and continued to use up until this year, was Walkmeter by Abvio. It has always been a power user application with almost unlimited configurability and reporting. For years I have used it while out running or walking to track my progress. That changed though when I got the Apple Watch.

Even though Walkmeter supports the Apple Watch (though now via a subscription for “premium” features) I found myself using the built in workouts and Activity application on the phone more and more. This has continued up through the Apple Watch series 5 that I bought when it was released this past Fall. I have continued to import data into Walkmeter, and paid for another year on the subscription, with little need. I just am not using it. The built-in workouts and Activity app meet my needs perfectly (probably the only one of the built-in iPhone apps I can say that about). Apple really seems to be hitting the health market pretty hard with the latest watch and it’s showing in the related applications. So in April of 2020 when my subscription for Walkmeter expires it will be the first time in a long time that I won’t be renewing.

Headspace and Calm

Another important area for me this past year has been mental health. With help from Headspace I started a relatively regular meditation practice near the middle of 2018. When my Headspace subscription expired I wanted to try something else because I just didn’t find Headspace to be helping much. Andy Puddicome really does a great job in the Headspace meditations but he relies a lot on visualization which I have never been good at. I felt like I wasn’t getting anything out of the sessions even though I can see that a lot of people would because Andy is great. But it was time to look elsewhere and this year I switched to Calm.

Calm was recommended by a friend who had been using it for awhile. He raved about the Sleep Stories feature and given how good the rest of the reviews had been I gave it a try with a free month he was able to send me. It is exactly what I was looking for.

The number of mediations is huge, spread across many different areas like Anxiety, Sleep, Stress, etc. There is also a new Daily Meditation every day but I haven’t used that as much. Sleep Stories are great and I have used that feature on many occasions when I’ve had issues trying to get to sleep. I have found it a bit funny though because two of the actors reading some of the stories were on Game of Thrones. Odd to hear Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) reading to me in quiet, calming voices urging me to get to sleep.

So, in 2020 the plan is to stick with Calm and try to keep a regular, if not daily, meditation schedule. Given the stability theme for the year I think that will be an important thing to have in my pocket for when things inevitably get a bit crazy.

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