Not to be confused with a social fitness meetup app, a running route app, and also a walking competition app that each share the same name, Stride is a clever exercise encouragement app that uses gamification to get you outside.
Based around an addictive territory-capturing game, while most run tracking apps look to push you towards setting personal bests, Stride instead encourages an arguably more valuable target – consistency.
Once you’ve gone through a quick setup process, you’re provided with a map of your locale that’s divided up into hexagonal tiles.
The aim of the game is to capture as many of these 60m “hexes” by running or walking through them. You’re up against other Stride players in your neighborhood, with the owner of each hex the player who has been through that zone the most times.
A unique approach to tracking exercise sessions
Things can get tactical - create a loop of hexes around a territory and you get to keep all of the hexes contained within the middle of that link – and at times frantic if there’s enough people playing in your locality.
Defending your hexes and expanding the territory is unquestionably fun and a decent motivator for regularly getting you out and off the sofa, however it is somewhat reliant on enough people playing the game around you to keep the competition up.
Encouragingly, some of the game-breaking bugs which saw the game regularly crash and lose your progress appear to have been fixed in recent updates, which may persuade some lapsed players back into competing once more, while there's HealthKit integration for exporting your activities within the game into the Apple Health app.
Our major criticism of Stride comes with its subscription pricing. While the basic game and run tracking is free, to get detailed leaderboard information – something that’s near essential to play the game competitively – you’ll need to splash out a hefty £34.99/$44.99 a year.
All that being said, you can’t put a price on your health, and if Stride’s unique approach is the catalyst for more consistent exercise, then that subscription fee for many users will seem like money well spent.
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Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist.
He started out as a music writer in the late 1990s, before moving to the Daily Mirror to become the newspaper’s technology editor, during which time he wrote a weekly column that saw him chart the boom of consumer tech and gaming as well as the resurrection and rise of Apple Inc.
He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards.