Fitness app users are 'trying to cheat step counters' with this simple hack

Hitting 10,000 steps every day can be tricky.

A long day stuck at your desk, commuting by car followed by an evening on the sofa – it can be tough finding the time to build more walking into your daily routine.

And when you have a step counter – on a wearable fitness tracker, or just on your phone – the step count guilt can be intense. Particularly if you’re aiming for a certain target to gain rewards from your insurance company.

But some fitness tracker users have come up with a clever hack to cheat the system – to make your app think you’ve done more walking than you actually have.

It definitely beats running up and down the stairs five times in an attempt to hit your total.

A Twitter user posted a video of a phone being rocked in an electronic cradle – as it was being rocked you could see that the phone’s step-counter was going up in real time.

Essentially, the gentle rocking bamboozled the phone into thinking it was walking. Not such a smart phone now.

The tweet generated more than 32,000 likes – and people in the comments seemed quite split on how to react to the hack.

‘Show me one that lowers my real cholesterol and weight and then I’ll be impressed,’ said one.

‘Humans – too smart for their own damn good,’ added another.

One person even divulged their own personal hack for cheating their step counter: ‘My youngest son offered to wear my tracker during soccer practice to help win the day challenge.’

In his original tweet, @mbrennanchina implied that there could be financial incentive for pulling the wool over your step counter’s eyes.

‘Some insurance companies in China allow people who consistently reach a certain daily step count to get discounted health insurance premiums,’ he wrote.

And the same scheme works for some companies here in the UK too.

Vitality health and life insurance allows customers to earn points through their fitness trackers – 7,000 steps in a day will earn you three points, 10,000 steps will earn you five points and 12,500 steps earns you eight points.

‘Pick up points by working out at a partner gym, joining a parkrun, walking, running, cycling or swimming by using a linked activity tracking device,’ reads the Vitality website.

Rewards include cinema tickets, Starbucks coffees and Amazon Prime discounts.

But you would have to be pretty cynical to actually go through with this cheat – most of the comments are on the despairing side and can’t believe anyone could be that lazy.

‘This has to be one of the saddest gadgets ever created,’ wrote one person when the video was shared on Reddit.

But other people were fully on board and keen to do whatever it takes to get those sweet, sweet rewards.

‘My wife and I get insurance through her work and they do the same thing. They issue everyone fitness trackers and if you reach your step goal everyday you get a discounted rate,’ wrote someone else on Reddit.

‘We just strapped ours to the ceiling fan.’ Clever.

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