Are Health And Fitness Apps Actually Good For You?

Dr Greg Hager Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins told the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting that trying to hit 10,000 steps for elderly people may be harmful

Dr Hager said the 10,000 steps mantra is from a Japanese study dating back to 1960 - which claimed it would help men burn 3,000 calories a day.

A 2016 study involving 800 participants found that wearing a fitness tracker or pedometer did not improve users' health, even when they were given cash incentives to complete more steps.

It turns out that the origin of the 10,000 steps a day minimum is not actually based on any hard science.

GOOD NEWS FOR ANYONE THAT HAS a fitness band but got bored of disappointing it, the number of steps that they measure and their general existence apparently has no positive impact on your health anyway.

Dr Greg Hager, Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting that trying to hit 10,000 steps for elderly people may be harmful. "Who knows? It's just a number that's now built into the apps", Hager continued.

Dr Hager added: "Imagine everyone thinks they have to do 10,000 steps but you are not actually physically capable of doing that, you could actually cause harm or damage by doing so".




As you can see, the target that most of us have come to accept, is not exactly based on science. So maybe now we know this numbers aren't "for reals" we're going to stick to what we know - move more, sit less and if you need an app to tell you to walk, that's fine - just don't be too anal about tracking it.

Steve Flatt, director of Psychological Therapies Unit in London said: 'Presently, I would say that all apps are at the equivalent stage of the 1860's wild west everyone watches a gravy train and do not hesitate to jump on board even if there is little of no evidence of utility, on the fact that there is a huge amount of money to be made'. You'll notice this is about as far as you can go without your shoulders dropping.

A person aged 45 and weighing 70kg (about 11 stone) can burn around 400kcal (1673kJ) by walking 10,000 steps briskly (3-5mph).

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston, Dr Greg Hager, from Johns Hopkins University in the USA says that only a handful of the estimated 165,000 available healthcare apps are based on scientific evidence.

He pointed to recent research into mental health apps, ... In addition, we may be failing to complete exercises relevant to our personal needs while fixating on the 10,000 steps.

"However, there is a place for these and so we need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater". "This field is now in its infancy and can be likened to the snake oil salesmen of the 1860s", he added.

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