The best walking apps to keep you active this winter

·4-min read
Photo credit: Adie Bush - Getty Images
Photo credit: Adie Bush - Getty Images

Falling leaves and crisp, frosty mornings -winter has officially arrived. While it can be tempting to remain curled up indoors when the days get shorter, it’s more important than ever to get outside for some fresh air and exercise to keep muscles active and minds busy.

Veteran walkers may relish the ritual of poring over an Ordnance Survey map before a hike, but walkers of all stripes would do well to explore the wealth of new walking apps that exist.

Whether you’re exploring new parts of your local area or venturing further afield to achieve your daily step count, we’ve rounded up some of the best apps to map and guide you on your way.

MapMyWalk

MapMyWalk is one of the most comprehensive free walking apps available.

Features include easy-to-navigate maps, audio feedback and metric tracking. When you first set out on a walk, the app brings up a map of your immediate area and shows the route you are taking in red. With GPS tracking your path, it enables you to explore freely and find your way back easily.

Photo credit: Christopher Hopefitch - Getty Images
Photo credit: Christopher Hopefitch - Getty Images

As you walk, you can monitor your time, distance, speed, pace, elevation and calories burned. And with audio feedback, you can also have key information relating to your progress announced every mile, half-mile or other distance, a feature that can be a good motivational tool.

After finishing, you can upload and save your route and even share this with other users. Getting bored of your route? MapMyWalk allows you to select other routes that other users have done in your area. You can also connect with other wearable tech, such as Fitbit and Garmin, if you use them.

World Walking

A particularly fun and educational way to map your walks, World Walking enables you to select from over 400 of the world’s most famous trails to build up your step rate over time.

Users can select from routes such as Selma to Montgomery, Route 66 or Peru’s Machu Picchu Trail and tot up their steps to complete it. Created by cardiac rehabilitation instructor Duncan Galbraith, the app also encourages users to form virtual walking clubs with other users to achieve their targets together.

Go Jauntly

Go Jauntly was established to encourage urban dwellers to get walking and discover green spaces near them. While the app features over 700 routes throughout the UK, it’s particularly good for those walking in and around London, with useful information about walking times to the nearest Tube station and Santander Cycle docking stations.

Routes display photographs to help guide you if you’re not sure you’re on the right path. And iPhone users (coming soon to Android) can also enjoy the Nature Notes feature.

This acts as a kind of journal to capture the good things you see on your walk, and sends you daily prompts to notice the natural world around us.

Photo credit: Peter Cade - Getty Images
Photo credit: Peter Cade - Getty Images

Fitbit (does not require a Fitbit tracker)

While you might associate Fitbit with the company behind tracking accessories worn on the body to monitor day-to-day activity, they also offer an excellent app that you can use to track your walks that doesn’t require you to own a Fitbit.

Simply select “no Fitbit yet” when downloading the app and it will set up the mobile tracker. From here, you can review your route, distance, time and calories burned. Users can also get voice cues and updates at selected times to monitor progress - and you can also connect with friends and relatives who use the app.

Photo credit: Jordan Siemens - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jordan Siemens - Getty Images

Walkmeter

Walkmeter tracks more than 250 statistics, plus maps, graphs, splits, intervals and zones, making it ideal for those who like to study their stats after a walk.

But don’t be put off - the New York Times described the app as “clean and easy-to-use”. Walkmeter also records temperatures and weather conditions, and shows you terrain and traffic with Google Maps. Users can also benefit from voice-enabled controls via Siri for hands-free use.

An additional safety feature we were particularly impressed with was the option to share live tracking with friends (by invitation only). Apple Watch users can also pair this with the app for a more personalised experience.

Nike Run App

Despite the name, the Nike Run app works perfectly for walkers too. As well as tracking your distance, location and time, you can also set goals for the week or month ahead to motivate you. Auto-pause halts data collection if you need to stop or have a sit-down - and you can even tag your shoes so you know how many miles you’ve covered and when it’s time for a new pair (even the ones from other brands).

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