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Hiking makes exercise fun for those who prefer hiking

Walk The Distance is the type of app that will motivate a very specific type of person to get off the couch and get some exercise. Instead of making you walk Escape from zombies Or catching Pokémon, it actually lets you hike longer trails like the Appalachian Trail (AT) and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) – perfect for those of us who don’t care about our local hiking trails but want something a little more cute. .

For every mile you walk home, you see a little icon with your picture that moves along the map, making its way between famous landmarks like Springer Mountain in Georgia or Kennedy Meadows at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas. And when you reach certain points, Walk The Distance will give you pictures and facts about them. It’s kind of a game Oregon TrailExcept for sitting in front of the computer, you are doing sports. (It should be noted that there is in fact The official Oregon Trail app Which does something similar if you’d rather take a more historical trip.)

I really got out and ran one night so I could get to the next milestone.

Since using it, I’ve enjoyed coming home from walking and watching the app to roughly see what milestones I’ve been through. The descriptions he gives you are short and sweet, explaining things like the weather or scenery in a particular place or touching on certain aspects of what it’s like to walk down the aisle, but for me the photography is worth checking out every time. I also found myself looking at a map in the future and planning my next hike—when I read the description of the Hawk Mountain Shelter that says the next stop is about seven miles away, I used AllTrails (another great app) to find a nearby eight-mile hike.

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In theory, my short runs would total several thousand miles, and I would have completed the AT version of Walk The Distance. The app also offers a variety of short trips through several national parks and towns if you want to start with a less challenging goal.

Let me set this pretty quickly now that I’ve seen a screenshot: I don’t think Walk The Distance is an attractive app. In fact, I honestly think it’s a bit ugly. However, if you can get past that, the app’s functionality is pretty powerful – you can see where you are on the road compared to other users who walk it virtually, browse your walking history to see how many miles you’ve covered each day, and review points of interest you’ve already gone through. There’s also a whole bunch of settings that let you customize a lot of the experience.

There is also a social element to Walk The Distance, although I can’t say I played with it that much. In addition to all users posting their progress publicly, you can also add friends to ride the trail, and the app has a mode that simply shows you where you and your friends are on the trail. (If developers are looking for free advice, the “friends” section should not be the “tramily” section, yet Trail and family coat rack which is used in the hiking community. This would be a nice look consistent with the fact that the app lets you choose a ‘track name’ instead of a display name.)

I also appreciate—and can’t believe I’m saying it—the Walk The Distance pricing structure. This gives you a great deal of flexibility in how or if you want to pay for the app. You can do the first or second part of Great Hikes for free, then pay to unlock the rest. Fully AT unlocking costs $4.99 and PCT unlocking $9.99. A few national parks and city rides are free, while others cost $0.99 each.

Walk The Distance strongly encourages its users to donate to the associations that maintain and manage the tracks in real life, which I wholeheartedly agree with.

If you don’t want to pay for piecemeal stuff, there’s a $2.99/month/$29.99/year subscription that lets you take all the rides for free and unlock syncing with Fitbit or Garmin. Syncing with Apple Health or Google Fit is free (and because I use another app to sync my Fitbit data to the Apple system, Walk The Distance picks this data directly).

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So far I haven’t gotten to the point where I should start pushing; For AT, this happens about 155 miles away. When I do, I plan to at least buy this track. REI, an outsourcing company, believes hiking the Appalachian Trail It costs about $6000So I really got away with doing it for five bucks.

Of course, the motivational form of Walk The Distance won’t work for everyone because not everyone is a big fan of hiking. However, for those of us for whom it works, reaching for our next virtual haven might just be the motivation we need to get off the couch and get out a bit. Personally, I’m really looking forward to making tangible progress on my virtual Appalachian Trail ride later this summer when I tour part of the Pacific Crest Trail because that’s exactly the kind of thing I find so funny.

Walk The Distance is available for free at App Store And the Google Play Store.