Finding your friends
One of the great benefits of logging your workouts and fitness goals on MapMyWalk is the fact that it also offers a variety of social networking features, allowing you to connect with an active online community that shares similar goals to your own.
Once you’ve created your profile, one of the first things you’re probably going to want to do is find any of your friends that are also members. There are three main ways you can go about doing this.
1. Searching by name or email
One of the simplest ways to find people you already know are using MapMyWalk is by searching for them by their first name, last name, or email address.
But although this is the simplest, it isn’t always the most accurate, particularly if you search for anything less than their full name.
Finding friends on MapMyWalk using the ‘search’ feature
Tip: Although it doesn’t list it as an option above the search bar, you can also search by username. By their very nature, usernames are supposed to be unique, so searching by this should yield considerably fewer results, and hopefully only the friend you’re looking for.
However, this does require your friends to all send you their usernames beforehand. Email is another unique piece of information, but this will require you knowing the email address they registered their profile with.
2. Find / invite friends from an address book
Whether you’re unable to find your friends via the search facility, or simply want a quicker way to check against a larger group of friends instead of one at a time, your best option is to search your email account address books.
If you’re searching for people who may already be members, you can use the ‘Find Friends’ option. If you have friends who would also be interested in using MapMyWalk to track their personal fitness, there’s also an option to ‘Invite Friends’ from address books.
If you choose to Find Friends, then you’ll be presented with a screen that resembles the one below, providing you with a list of email clients to choose from, including Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook. For reference, the explanation that follows is specific to Gmail, although selecting from other email providers will result in a similar series of steps.
You can choose to search address books from a number of popular email clients,
including Gmail and Yahoo
By granting the CloudSponge API access to your address book, this will then search for and display all of your contacts, with a checkbox alongside each name.
Select the names of the friends in your address book you would like to search for, then click Next.
You can search and select from all of the contacts in your email address book
MapMyWalk will then search for any matches based on these email addresses and names, displaying any that are currently registered with active profiles.
Users matching names and emails in your address book will then be displayed
Inviting friends from an address book follows a similar sequence, except for the last step, the email addresses you select will be sent a friendship confirmation request.
Emails will be sent if you select the ‘Invite Friends’ option
3. Find / invite friends using your Twitter and Facebook profiles
If you already maintain an active presence on Facebook and Twitter, you can also choose to invite your followers to join you on MapMyWalk.
As long as you have authorized access to your accounts, you can send a tweet or facebook post with a link to the registration page so that they can create their new accounts.
Tweets and Facebook posts can be used to invite your followers to join you on MapMyWalk
Finding social groups
In addition to discovering which of your friends uses MapMyWalk, you can also search through a large collection of groups dedicated to all aspects of physical fitness.
But with hundreds of groups to choose from, some with over 100,000 members, who do you find the ones that are most relevant to you?
- 1. Searching for groups in your local area
Firstly, there’s the search option. You can choose to either search for groups in your current location, by name, or by the location where you plan on doing most of your walking.
Searching by location is one way to find groups in your area
In most cases this should yield some results, and you’ll be able to view the favourite routes of members in those groups, as well as any upcoming events.
- 2. Joining a Featured Group
Once you’ve joined any groups you’re interested in that are local to your area, the next step might be to browse through some of the Featured Groups.
These groups are often home to thousands of members, with some offering exclusive benefits. Some of the benefits that are available by joining the Under Armour group include exclusive access to training plans, workout videos, and fitness challenges.
Featured Groups offer a range of impressive benefits to members
There’s no additional cost for joining these groups, and they can be a great way to share ideas with likeminded people, as well as discovering some challenging new fitness routines.
- 3. Creating your own group
If you’re unable to find a group that interests you, or there are none currently setup for your area, it can also be a good idea to create your own.
Group creation is quick and easy
The process of creating a group has been kept relatively simple, although this really depends on the purpose of the group once it’s setup. You can define everything from the location of the group, right the way through to the experience level of members.
Create a goal
Whether it’s to achieve a new personal best time over a particular distance, lose weight, or simply improve your cardiovascular fitness, we all have reasons why we exercise.
An important part of any fitness routine is being able to set measurable goals related to these reasons, such as losing 5 lbs in a month, or 20 lbs in a year. This is why MapMyWalk also offers their comprehensive goal setting tool, which lets you choose from a number of popular options.
You can currently choose from the following goals:
- Work Out More
- Go Farther
- Increase My Pace
- Walk More
There are also plans to implement goal measurement for the number of calories burned, and how much weight you’ve lost, although at time of writing, these are still in development.
Work Out More
Setting a ‘Work Out More’ goal
There are three main steps to setting this particular goal:
- 1. Pick your total number of workouts for a specific type of exercise (walk, gym workout, cycle, etc.).
- 2. Pick your goal length. This is essentially the duration you would like to complete your total number of workouts in.
- 3. Name your goal. It’s a good idea to provide a meaningful description that’s readily identifiable at a later date, in case you want to set this goal again. By default, MapMyWalk actually does an excellent job of suggesting a goal name for you.
The simple 3-step process detailed above is really all that’s required. You will now be given the option to save your goal, which will then take you through to the ‘My Goals’ screen.
This is where you can keep track of any outstanding goals you’re in the process of achieving, as well as past goals that you have already achieved.
As with any of the MapMyWalk goals, you progress by logging a workout related to your chosen activity within your chosen duration. Once the number of workouts reaches your target, that’s your goal achieved!
There’s also an intuitive progress bar assigned to each goal, as well as the number of days you have left to achieve it. This is actually incredibly useful from a time management perspective, as it lets you prioritise any goals you may be falling behind with, while you temporarily put goals with a longer duration on hold.
Setting a ‘Go Farther’ goal
As with the ‘Work out more’ goal, ‘Go Farther’ requires just 3 quick steps to be completed before you can start working towards your latest goal.
- 1. Pick your total miles. Predefined options are available, or if you have a custom distance that helps you work towards a short term goal, you are also able to set a custom number of miles between 1 and 100k. You are also able to specify the activity, choosing from walking, jogging/running, cycling or all 3.
- 2. Set a target goal length. You may need to make some basic calculations before setting the number of weeks you expect to achieve this distance goal in. If you’ve already built up a history of logged workouts, the calendar summarizes how many miles you’ve walked/run/cycled in an average week. You can then divide your target number of miles by the average number of miles per week to reveal a more accurate and realistic goal length.
- 3. Save your goal, and view the details on the ‘My Goals’ page. As with each of the goals, you’re also given the option to share this on social media, and will receive an email as confirmation that it’s been created.
Increase My Pace
Setting a ‘Increase My Pace’ goal
- 1. The first step is to select a target time for walking, cycling, or running a mile. This is actually meant as an average across your entire workout, you how challenging you find this also depends on the distance you plan to cover during each walk / run / cycle.
- 2. Select a realistic timeframe for achieving this average speed. Measured in weeks, this ranges from 1 to 52, making it an excellent idea for a long-term goal.
- 3. As with the ‘Work Out More’ and ‘Go Farther’ options, the final step is to assign a name to your goal. You can create your own, or stick with the summary created by MapMyWalk.
If you’re looking to increase the intensity of your workout, it’s true that there are a variety of options available to you. But studies have shown that perhaps the most important is the pace at which you walk.
The suggestion that people who walk faster tend to live longer lives has been around for many years. This has been backed up by various studies, including one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in early 2011, which concluded that gait speed was associated with increased life expectancies in older adults. Now, a recent analysis of the National Walkers’ Health Study seems to add further weight to this argument.
This particular study was actually able to identify a clear correlation between a lower walking pace and a higher risk of mortality. Subjects in the study that walked at a faster pace were found to have a significantly lower risk of mortality due to diabetes, heart disease, heart failure, and dementia.
It’s also worth bearing in mind the size of such studies. The study by the University of Pittsburgh in early 2011 was on 34,485 adults aged 65 years or older, with data being collected throughout the 14 years between 1986 and 2000. Similarly, the study published by Paul T. Williams, a statistician at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was based on data from 38,981 recreational walkers, measured over a period of 9.4 years.
One of the primary conclusions of the Berkeley study was that the risk of mortality increased substantially for those with a walking pace greater than 24 minutes per mile.
This is why it’s particularly useful that MapMyWalk actually calculates your average pace across every one of your logged walking workouts, calculated using your distance and time. While this acts as a way to monitor your current speed, goal setting is a great way to encourage improvements in your walking pace over time.
Setting a ‘Walk More’ goal
- 1. Select how many steps you would like to be walking each day
- 2. Choose a realistic timeframe for reaching your target number of steps per day. It can help to log a few walking workouts before setting up a ‘Walk More’ goal, as this will give you a clear idea of the distance and time you’ll need to reach your target on a regular basis.
- 3. Provide a clear description of your goal. Upon creation, you will be able to find your new ‘Walk More’ goal in your goals dashboard.
You may already be aware that the recommended daily step count is 10,000. How many steps you choose for this goal will of course depend on your current level of physical fitness.
You can easily manage multiple active goals, as well as view a historical
log of those already completed