How technology helps motivate healthy living


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How technology helps motivate healthy living

smartphone with a bar graph

What's coming up?

In this activity you will learn how health apps use the data they collect to suggest ways you can improve your health. These apps can provide general advice that can help motivate you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve your health and fitness goals.

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Why is tracking health data useful?

If you use a health app and your phone to track things such as steps taken per day or vigorous exercise like cycling or jogging, then this data can help you see how your health changes over time.

graph displaying distance walked per month
graph showing steps climbed

Your smartphone is like a health notebook

Your health apps can, with your permission, keep a record of data linked to your account, and this data can be stored in the cloud and compared with other users of the app too.

a locked padlock

eSafety tip

When you set up your health app, you will use a free account to sign in. You can also choose what data is shared to the cloud, and some apps let you choose how long the data is kept.

Most apps will use your phone’s account (such as your Google Account) so will already have a strong password. However, if you are asked to set a new password, make sure it is a strong password, to keep your health data private.

You can create a health plan

Health apps will let you set goals, such as taking a certain number of steps per day, weight loss, or doing a certain amount of other exercise. When you achieve these smaller goals, the app will provide encouragement and suggestions for what to do next, which can be a great help in staying motivated.

notification congratulating you on reaching step goal
notification displaying info on your heart points

You get notifications when you reach goals

Your health app will send you alerts and notifications when you reach your daily or longer-term goals. You might also get notifications with suggestions for extra exercises, or reminders to keep going, if you have almost reached your daily goal.

Tracking diet information and medications

If you are following a diet based on medical advice, you can use your health app to track this. You’ll need to manually enter meals and calorie counts into the app yourself, and the app can then keep track of this information.

You can also set up the app to remind you of when you need to take any medications.

calorie counter app
lady sleeping with smartphone on table

How health apps can help with sleep

Quality of sleep can be important for your health. Your health suite app can monitor your sleep and let you know detailed information about your sleep quality.

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eSafety tip

If your health app says you are getting poor sleep, it’s important to follow this up with your doctor, since this can be an indicator of other health issues.

A health app can be wrong about your sleep being bad, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Pros and cons of using a smartwatch

A smartwatch can help with tracking your health more accurately, since it has more sensors and can show alerts on your wrist via its display. However, many smartwatches need to be charged every few days which can be inconvenient. They can also be quite expensive.

smartwatch with a price tag on it
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eSafety tip

Your health app may be showing that you are getting good results and health improvements, but this should not be a replacement for regular medical check-ups with your doctor. Health apps provide general tips and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Well done!

This is the end of the How technology helps motivate healthy living activity. You’ve learned how apps can help motivate you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re a registered user, you can now complete a short quiz to test your learning. If you’re not registered, this is now the end of the How technology helps with health and wellbeing course.

smartwatch with apps