How long was that walk? And how many calories did I burn in the process?

Like many people these days, I live a pretty sedentry lifestyle. As my ages edges towards 40 (and I said the same thing when I was closer to 30 too!), I need to do something about my weight and overall fitness levels. Not eating half of the food on sale in the Marks and Spencer food hall each lunchtime would be a good start but exercise needs to fit in there too.

I do work from home a lot these days and, as I live in the countryside, I try to get out for a walk most days (it doesn’t always work out) but I’m back on the wagon this week (those who know me well also know how often I fall off this particular wagon), using Weight Loss Resources to track my calorie intake and exercise levels, as well as to follow the trend over time (hopefully downwards… towards my goal weight).

Getting some idea of how far I’ve walked is okay if I walk along roads (Google Maps is pretty useful for that part), but what if I go cross country, or take a shortcut between two residential streets? As it happens, there are some websites that use the Google mapping API to allow the plotting of routes either by road or as the crow flies and, with a few clicks of the mouse I can tell exactly how far I walked this evening. The site I found most useful was the GMaps Pedometer, which tells me how far I walked (in miles or kilometres), how many calories I burned in the process, what the elevation was, and even lets me export the map points in GPX format (GeoDistance was similar, but less fully featured and it didn’t like it when I deliberately retraced my steps).

Of course, I could just wear a pedometer (sadly it seems that the GPS in my iPhone 3G is not accurate enough to trace where I’ve been) but these websites are very useful to know about… now, if only I could find one that uses Ordnance Survey’s OpenSpace API

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