From: Kay Jones Lewis
Modern gadgets—such as TVs, video games and personal computers—often get a bad rap for contributing to the obesity epidemic and the myriad lifestyle diseases that can develop from habitual inactivity (allegedly promoted by our addiction to our devices). But now, it turns out, the smart phone may help high tech save face.
A study published recently in the online medical journal, The Lancet, found that text messages can be a great way to get us all up and moving. Researchers in Australia based their findings on results of an SMS-based intervention program for new moms who wanted to get fit. The participants lived in communities with a high percentage of single-parent, low-income and low-education families.
Over the course of 13 weeks, the moms received 42 text messages that offered personally tailored tips for increasing their activity levels. Some messages provided social support while others directed the ladies to fitness opportunities in their neighborhoods. Those who received the text messages significantly increased their moderate to intense periods of physical activity and spent more time walking for exercise than those who did not receive the messages.
A similar study in Kenya used text messages to encourage HIV-infected patients to take their medication. Researchers concluded it was an effective way to improve adherence, since 62 percent of the intervention group took their pills at least 95 percent of the time, compared to only 50 percent of the group that did not receive the text messages.
If you’d like to conduct your own research and see if text messages can help you to get fit or remember to take your meds, just search your cell phone carrier’s library of apps for a free or low-cost download. You'll find dozens of choices for all different fitness levels and activities.