MapMyFitness, The App That May Know More About Your Health Than Your Doctor

Right now, your doctor has basically no clue what's happened to your body since your last visit. MapMyFitness, which tracks physiological data during workouts, is looking for ways to make sharing that information with your doctor easier.

MapMyFitness has stats any data-loving exercise junkie would envy. The GPS-based social fitness tracking app that allows users to map their routes, track their fitness, and log their meals, has roughly 20 million registered users, growing at a rate of around 200,000 users per week. And all of those users add up to a wealth of data that MapMyFitness believes could dramatically change the landscape of how we interact with our health.

“Human nature is to quantify. You wouldn’t run a business without accounting data. You wouldn’t run your household if you didn’t have a schedule. Knowing how fit you are is the first step to actually making an improvement, but you can’t really do any of that without data,” says Robin Thurston, cofounder and CEO of MapMyFitness.

While MapMyFitness currently provides ways to share your data across the network, they are looking for ways to make sharing that data with your doctor even easier. Thurston sees health-related data collection, or “the quantified self” becoming a standard in health care practices in the future, giving doctors more detailed analytics of their patients.

“You can’t really be prescriptive unless you have data. Doctors are essentially in my view running your business, your health business, without having the data to back it up.”

According to Thurston, MapMyFitness has the "largest physiological database in the world," 30 terabytes of heart-rate data for hundreds of thousands of people. And it wants to enable its users to leverage that information to take better care of their health.

"You as an individual will have the ability in the future to authenticate and share that information," says Thurston, "so the doctor has a much better picture of all the things that are happening in your life."

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  • David Sparks

    Downloaded the app. It only wants to map my running or biking. There is no indication that you can do anything else, especially the stuff mentioned in this article, Seems like the product doesn't match the hype. Why such a wide gap?

  • I have the free version of the app and it works perfectly. Along with accurate tracking and lots of customisation, it also sends me regular recaps of my totals for the week in email (along with the occasional email ad, but then, I only use the free version, so OK.) It also maps the route I bike or run, shows pace, total time, splits, personal bests, the course itself - tons of good stuff.

    The other features you ask about are accessible on their comprehensive website. (Food logging, etc). Despite my comments here, I am not connected to the company, this is just my legit feedback - they have created a great and easy to use resource that has taken over from the Nikeplus app i used to use. My 2 cents...

  • Mark Ezrin

    David, I've used it for 3+ years. Great app. Log virtually all "planned" exercise/activities. I don't use it fitbit style and log just walking around. I'm looking at it now and after clicking "Record" and Choosing "Activity", I'm seeing an extensive list beyond cycling and cycling and running. Keep in mind it is GPS based so, like any of these apps, it only works real time tracking for outdoor activities. I see things like swimming, skiing,wakeboarding, sailing, rowing ...roller blading, kayaking, hang gliding ...

    What I like about it compared to other GPS only apps is I can manually log non GPS activities that I don't record, like weights, indoor bike riding on my trainer, etc.

    Good luck.