Smart app gives tips for an active lifestyle

Smart app gives tips for an active lifestyle
Motivate screenshot.

Getting enough exercise is a big challenge for a lot of people. The solution: an app that provides personal activity tips at the right times. That concludes Yuzhong Lin in her doctoral research at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). She has developed a mobile phone app that gives users tips on ways they can get more exercise, based on their location and lifestyle. Test subjects said they felt much more active after using the app. Lin defends her thesis at TU/e on Tuesday 2 April.

are big . Around 1.5 billion adults worldwide are overweight. One way to avoid becoming overweight is by taking regular exercise. But that doesn't work for many people, for example because they don't have the time, energy or . However, research shows that people are more likely to follow if it's given at the right time.

Motivation

Lin shows that a app is a good way to do that. The app that she has developed for Android phones – called 'Motivate' – gives users exercise tips based on their location and schedule, so the tips are easy to follow right at that moment. This increases the chance that users will actually take the suggested action. The app takes into account the weather, so you won't be invited to go outside when it's raining. It also gives tips about cultural activities like concerts or museums, to encourage users to get out and visit them – preferably by bike.

User feedback

The app provides around three to five messages a day. Examples are 'Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way home' or 'Take a walk outside with your colleagues after lunch'. With each tip the user is asked if he or she intends to follow it and, if so, when. This is followed later by the question of whether he or she actually did it. Most of the more than forty said after two weeks of testing that they felt they were more active, spent more time outdoors and had a better knowledge of how to stay active.

Potential

"The research shows that this technology has the potential to change people's behavior", said Lin's supervisor prof.dr.ir. Bauke de Vries. "It's true that there are already apps on the market that help users follow a healthy , but this is the first that gives them tips matched to their location and schedule. Further research with a larger number of text subjects is now needed to find out exactly how many more people take exercise with this."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New mobile app to keep us safe

Dec 18, 2012

Swinburne University of Technology Faculty of Design academics have devised a new smartphone app that can be used by teenagers to let parents know they are safe, and also by adults to let family, friends ...

Recommended for you

Patient-centered medical homes reduce costs

14 hours ago

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH), introduced in 2007, is a model of health care that emphasizes personal relationships, team delivery of care, coordination across specialties and care settings, quality ...

New mums still excessively sleepy after four months

15 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—New mums are being urged to be cautious about returning to work too quickly, after a QUT study found one in two were still excessively sleepy four months after giving birth.

It's time to address the health of men around the world

16 hours ago

All over the world, men die younger than women and do worse on a host of health indicators, yet policy makers rarely focus on this "men's health gap" or adopt programs aimed at addressing it, according to an international ...

User comments