I'm a born again fell walker, and Apple is to blame

"We're passionate peregrinationists, schlepping, striding, sauntering, traipsing, eyes glued to the counter and 10,000 steps our prize."

I never used to have this problem. Not that I think it's a problem. It's more of a challenge, I guess, though with my slightly obsessive temperament it could become a problem. And Apple is to blame.


They say a journey begins with a single step. My iPhone has the Apple Health app and this includes a step counter. It is counting every little step.

It was cool at first. I don't commute to work, but do keep animals and always thought I was a fairly active person. Medical guidance suggests we should take 10,000 steps each day -- that's not a huge amount of steps and I'd always assumed I took at least that many during my day. Then one day while struggling with deadlines I noticed I'd walked only 2,500 steps.

That's when things began to change. Walking the dogs has become something akin to a cross-country hike. We're walking around ten miles a day across those leafy parts of London we know. The dogs are sleeping 18-hours a day to recover.

Long march

The other evening I popped out to pick up a pint of milk. Checking my step counter I noticed I was a few thousand short of the ten thousand target, so I walked to some random shop in a different district. The return trip took two hours but I reached 20,000 steps! When I got home I ran indoors to excitedly share the news of my accomplishment, only to learn my dinner was now in the dogs.

These days I chuckle as I stare at my digital footprints, rejoicing in each step, checking the gradient, assessing the hours of maximum effort and planning new routes between every London park within five miles of here. "Can I make it from Hampstead to Regent's Park with minimal traffic?"

I'm walking through London's beauty spots with my eyes glued on steps in Health app, which I've since supplemented with Azumio's Argus activity app. My biggest fear is leaving my iPhone at home.

It's changing my habits. I'm rising earlier so I can squeeze extra walking time in. I think the dogs fear me in the morning in case I'm about to lead them on some other deranged perambulation across the remaining hills and meadows of London town.

It's catching

My long-suffering girlfriend watched this all happen with amusement at first, but my obsessive steps enthusiasm clearly made it through. A week or so ago she found herself installing fitness and activity apps on her own iPhone 4S.

Now she's equally obsessed. She's watching her steps. We swap steps stories. We share routes. I think our dogs are shrinking. We're passionate peregrinationists, schlepping, striding, sauntering, traipsing, eyes glued to the counter and 10,000 steps our prize.

Except it's not 10,000 steps no more. We've left that target way behind -- these days we're treading toward 20,000. I'm thinking about raising the target some more.

We started playing with calorie counters this week.

Did you know there's around 200 inside a mince pie?

I'm wishing for a Withings Smart Body Analyzer and pondering prices at local gyms.

Apple has a lot to answer for.

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