Getting weight loss results with mobile apps
Mobile applications available on smartphones and tablets are revolutionizing the ways in which people approach health and exercise, allowing individuals to track their efforts to get in shape, perform a calorie burn and obtain long-term fitness goals. Best of all, they're delivering what folks crave the most: results.
Mobile apps help people achieve goals
A recent study conducted by Northwestern University found that users of a mobile app that logs eating and workout habits lost an average of 15 pounds and were more likely to keep off the weight when used as part of a comprehensive diet and exercise plan.
"The app is important because it helps people regulate their behavior, which is really hard to do," said lead investigator Bonnie Spring, Ph.D., a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Most of us have no idea how many calories we consume and how much physical activity we get. The app gives you feedback on this and helps you make smart decisions in the moment."
Spring and her team recruited 69 overweight and obese adults - the group of participants was comprised primarily of men who were at an average age of 58.
The study spanned a year and participants were given fitness goals based on their weight and levels of activity. A control group was instructed to record their progress manually while a second group used an app to track their daily routines, the results of which were then delivered electronically to a personal trainer.
Each group was also given access to health education courses focused on nutrition and working out.
The growing popularity of health apps
According to Spring, the study is the first to demonstrate the benefits of a mobile app for weight loss in a clinical trial - a development that could spell big changes for the fitness and technology industries in the future.
Over the last several years, mobile apps have exploded in popularity. In 2011, an estimated 17,000 health-related apps became available for iPhones and Android-based devices, research firm Frost & Sullivan reported.
Apps can do anything, from keeping track of calories to cataloging food intake to monitoring chronic medical conditions. Users are also able to easily share information with others, making them invaluable for personal trainers and those engaged in rigorous exercise routines, like high intensity interval training.
"For this reason, health apps represent a great tool for informing and supporting patients in the self-management of their health and well-being," said Malgorzata Filar, a research analyst with Frost & Sullivan.
Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. For medical advice please consult a doctor.