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Style and Sustainability

Screen-time Solitude

Screen-time Solitude

5 Free Mobile Phone Apps to Enhance your Time Outdoors

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of unchecked notifications;

16 WhatsApps, 3 texts, a Facebook like,

Fluttering and dancing in my palm.

 

You’re outside enjoying some fresh air and then – buzz – you glance at your phone and lose that moment of calm. We’ve found apps that will enhance your time outdoors without interrupting it (we’re looking at you WhatsApp group chats…)

 

Sweatcoin – android or iOS 

Sweatcoin is a step-tracking app which uses GPS to monitor your outdoor walks, then rewards you with cryptocurrency. Sweatcoins can be spent against online fitness-related offers in stores such as Graze and Fitbit. On the lowest membership setting (earning up to 5 Sweatcoins per day) it takes time to accrue significant spending-power, but it costs nothing to leave the app running. You can even set up a cheeky step-tracking competition with your friends to spur you on.

QualityTime – android

Mobile addiction is a growing problem, with many of us spending up to a third of our waking hours staring at our devices. QualityTime tracks your phone usage, and provides insight into which apps you are spending time on and for how long. With the option to schedule breaks or lock your device, this app is perfect for taking time-out on a walk. You can keep your phone on you without the interruptions of notifications or the temptation to keep checking it but have peace of mind that a phone call can still get through.

Charity Miles – android and iOS

If you need some motivation to get you out on that walk, Charity Miles helps you by helping others. By logging your walks (or runs, or cycles), you can get their corporate partners, such as Johnson and Johnson, to donate to your chosen charity. For every mile you walk, approximately 17p is donated to your chosen cause. As a US-designed app many of the charities are US-based, but there is a diverse selection of charity partners with a global focus such as Save the Children and the World Food Programme.

Go Jauntly – iOS

If you are exploring somewhere unfamiliar or just want to find some new walks based on your location, Go Jauntly has simple photo guides which help you navigate your next adventure. The app even has useful tips about where to eat or stop to use the loo. Go Jauntly was created by a wellbeing-focused team to try to move us away from our sedentary lifestyles, and because it is a community-based app you can upload and share your favourite walks too. The best thing about this app is that you can curate your own collection of ‘jaunts’, whilst discovering hidden gems; the team behind the app work hard to ensure that all the walks are appropriately categorised and shared.

The Great British Bee Count – android and iOS

Bees are a critical part of our ecosystem and are sadly under threat. This quirky little app is a great way to help support the study of our pollinating friends. The Great British Bee Count takes place annually in May and June, and this app allows you to identify the type of bee you have spotted, upload an image if you have one, record any weather observations, and most importantly share your bee’s location. The results are published online – in 2017, over 320,000 bees were spotted in the UK.

From cryptocurrency to bees, we hope that you can find a way to use your mobile phone to support the mental and physical benefits that getting out for a walk brings. And, if apps aren’t your thing – just lace up your walking boots and mute those WhatsApp groups!

 

 

 Main Photograph by Rawpixel



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