I had ignored it for as long as I could.
I am suspicious of opening apps that someone else slipped onto my phone. Especially when they tell me how to live my life and how I could live it better.
They were created, after all, by people who may just be hypocritical tech types with a bleak life of their own. And I’m not specifically referring to someone who works for Apple.
Recently, however, I succumbed. I opened the Apple Health app on my iPhone to see what was there.
I lie easily. I have too many friends who boast about how many steps they take each day.
I had never considered dates like that. I try to go I’m trying to ride a bike. I try to move. I hope I can survive a little longer.
But here was a friend who told me that he had recently taken 40,000 steps a day on a trip to New York. Well, he’s a concerned soul.
Here is your health, but not your sanity.
Even so, I started checking my health app data, and at the same time feared that this was a beginning that could only lead to a terrible end.
My iPhone Health app provided some simple information. The number of steps, the walking and driving distance and the number of flights increased.
It started to praise me. They say I’m taking more steps and going further than last year.
That seemed strange and I soon realized why. I went to a gym last year. I would put my cell phone on the bike console so it never goes in my pocket. This meant my phone wasn’t counting all of the supposed steps.
Now when I ride a stationary bike at home, the Health app sits in the pocket of my shorts and insists that I take 7,000 steps while cycling. These steps are 2.7 miles.
What they don’t do. My bike tells me I rode 14 miles up and downhill. The health app just feels like I’m making progress. It can’t say that I’m on a bike.
However, the insidious nature of apps is such that you can’t help but get back to them. Again and again.
Apple will tell me that the health app is only there to help me become a better, healthier person.
I’m starting to worry that this will make me worse and more neurotic.
You see, it would definitely tell me I was walking less than the day before. Or the week before. Even if there was a 0.1 mile difference, the scolding was painful.
Every time I went down, I made sure my iPhone was in my pocket. Just to improve my score, you see.
Every time I went anywhere in the house – and I spend a lot of time indoors these days – I scolded myself for leaving my phone on the couch, on a table, or in the car.
I took a quick look at the grocery store to see how I scored.
What is the mental cost of these things? How much does a health app raise your blood pressure?
Still, every time my phone said I had climbed 52 flights of stairs, I patted myself. And kept checking my health app for more approval.
iOS 14 is killing me.
And then came iOS 14.
The health app was now a habit. I was there at least 10 times a day. I can now tell you exactly how many steps I take in my local supermarket – 897.
I can tell you how many steps I take on a golf course – 16,979.
But iOS 14 made me shiver. Suddenly there were more metrics.
There was double the support time.
“This is the percentage of the time during a walk that both feet are on the ground. A lower number means you spend more of your walk with your weight on one foot instead of two, which can be a better sign of balance. During a walk, this measure will be between 20% and 40%, “says Apple.
It adds, “Double the assistance time is automatically recorded on the iPhone when you wear your phone near your waist, e.g. B. in a trouser pocket, and walk evenly over level ground. ”
I was between my mid and mid twenties, but the agony was that I couldn’t be sure how good that was. My iPhone left me hanging between two feet. Am I balanced or unbalanced? Should I change my gear or my phone?
And now there is stride. I have to worry if it gets shorter as it means I’m getting older. Do I now artificially increase my stride length and thus endanger my double support time?
My cycling makes things even more complicated. I have the phone in my pocket for further steps. At the same time, this reduces my average stride length. After all, cycling feels like small steps – on the phone. Suddenly my average stride length indicated that I was 78 years old. (Disclosure: I am not.)
I was clearly in trouble. My thoughts would now be so focused on how I was walking that I couldn’t think of anything else. This was like a ballet dancer training given by the local police.
There was more. Walking pace. I can’t cope with this. Here again Apple: “Walking speed slows down with age, but sudden decreases can indicate a change in your health.”
Data is going to kill us prematurely, you know.
I hope I am aware when I am going slower or faster. I’m not rushing to the golf course as I probably chat with the people I play with.
But now I took a look at the health app to see if I’d lost a percentage point after a couple of holes.
Wait, am I wrong?
I know we should all define everything in terms of data now. I’m sure there are many on Tinder whose profiles contain sentences like “Double Support Time in the Low Teens” and “37,000 steps a day, man”, possibly without a comma.
Apple, why did you do this to me?
Unfortunately, this was not the last time.
There is now also a measure called walking asymmetry. What?
“Walking Asymmetry is the percentage of time your steps are faster or slower with one foot than the other.”
I can’t, I really can’t.
My phone suddenly wants me to know that “uneven walking patterns such as limping can be a sign of illness, injury or other health problems”.
Can a limp indicate something is wrong? Isn’t the data impressive?
The goal of Walking Asymmetry is to get the lowest possible score.
Mine was a healthy 0%. Which is weird since I have a thing called peroneal nerve syndrome in one leg that occasionally makes me a little limp.
Could it be that this app drove me crazy with inaccurate information?
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful sign of our time?
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