Five million. Or eight million. Or seven.

by Volker Weber


Almost exactly one year ago I wrote The first million is always the hardest. I had completed my first million steps since I started tracking three months earlier. It took until November to get to three million. In the meantime, my UP24 band broke and I switched to Withings Healthmate. When I got a replacement UP24 Jawbone decided to "upgrade" their software with Clippy, the Smart Coach. Which made me drop the band.

In November I set the goal to walk 10k steps a day and 100 km a week. I am in week 38 and never missed the goal, not even on a single day. Today I completed five million steps on that program. Add the other three and you get to eight million. Minus the one million I reached a year ago. That's the pace: 7 million a year. I no longer need to track steps, but I continue to do anyway. My daily routine now involves this mild exercise and I could not be happier with the results.

Apple Watch has made everything easier. You wear it while also carrying your iPhone and it will calibrate its sensors to your stride. After a while you no longer need to keep carrying the iPhone because it has become very accurate. When you start using the watch to track your activity, set a low goal like 300 calories a day. After a week it will start to nag you to adjust the goal upwards. I have set the goal to 600 which I reach every single day in the early afternoon. When I reach the move goal I have already closed the exercise ring. The stand ring will close later.

For me it's important to get into a "don't break the chain" mode, where I don't allow myself to lapse. Apple has a nice video about that. The important lesson here is that you don't have to be the fastest, the best, the fittest. You just have to try and not give up:

A year ago my ankles were weak and I would often sprain them. My legs were weak and I would feel pain in my knees. When I started walking I would develop blisters on my feet. A year ago I was proud to be able to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Now I can easily walk from Central Park over the bridge into Brooklyn. And back. I have lost more than 50 pounds along the way. And I am much happier now.

On a side note: yes, treat yourself to an Apple Watch. And then start earning it by closing those rings. Every single day.


I got the watch. You're right - it is excellent. I sat at the desk every day for hours on end and when I got up I was siff. Really stiff. Something as simple as the watch reminding me to stand up (when I am working I kind of zone out and don't notice the time) is paying dividends. The stiffness doesn't happen now.
I aim for 5k to 6k steps a day but I get different readings from my phone and watch so I am still figuring that bit out.
Not quite at the 50 lbs yet but I am working on it and will probably need the same again after that but I know now that it is possible.
Cross fingers. :-)

John Lindsay, 2015-07-17

Trust the watch more than the phone. Unless you are wearing it on your primary hand. Do some 30 minute walks with the Workout app in places with excellent GPS reception, meaning out in a field with no large buildings or foliage. Then it also gets the distance right.

Volker Weber, 2015-07-17

You definately should play Ingress!
The 'Enlightened' are keen on 'Trekkers' like you

Uwe Papenfuss, 2015-07-18

When (not if) they have WiFi Enabled and GPS built in, followed by a higher water rating, while maintaining the non fugly look, this watch will be outstanding.

I exercise a lot. Since I got the AppleWatch, it has pushed me to do more.

Paul Mooney, 2015-07-18

GPS is very hungry. I doubt they will add that. WiFi is on board. Lots of reports that people are swimming with Apple Watch. Not rated, but over-delivered.

Volker Weber, 2015-07-18

Over delivered, but under supported. Too expensive for me to try it out and break it. WiFi will be enabled with the next OS. GPS will happen, just when they can improve the battery life to at least match current lifetime.

That said, current lifetime is more than enough for me.

Paul Mooney, 2015-07-19

I see LTE before GPS. Way more important.

Volker Weber, 2015-07-20

Paul: Wifi is working already. This is great when Bluetooth is out of reach due to distance (house/garden/...)

Bernd Schuster, 2015-07-21

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