Daily phone notifications can improve your health by forcing you to exercise ...

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You are only ever a phone notification away from improving your health, a study suggests.

Participants in a study were encouraged to move more after downloading an app which sent nudges such as 'go for a Sunday walk' or 'stand up more'.

Their activity levels rose by ten per cent after a month of getting the simple daily reminders, scientists found.

They said although the improvements weren't drastic, it proves such technology is key for getting people to exercise more.  

A study found participant's activity levels increased by ten per cent after a month of simple daily phone notifications. Stock photo

A study found participant's activity levels increased by ten per cent after a month of simple daily phone notifications. Stock photo

Participants in a study were encouraged to move more after downloading an app called MyHeart which sent nudges such as 'go for a Sunday walk' or 'stand up more'

Participants in a study were encouraged to move more after downloading an app called MyHeart which sent nudges such as 'go for a Sunday walk' or 'stand up more'

They claim their study is one of the first to investigate the effectiveness of exercise prompts in a world of Fitbits and Apple Watches.

Senior author Euan Angus Ashley, professor of medicine and genetics at Stanford University, California, said: 'If people are addicted to their phones, maybe we can also get them addicted to their health.

'In this digital era, we have to think of ways to engage people in their health.

'The number of smartphone users these days is huge, and using an app to host the trial lets us tap into that population.'

The research, published in The Lancet Digital Health, recruited 493 participants.

Each participant had downloaded the MyHeart Counts app, developed by Stanford scientists in 2015.

Its original purpose was to help track physical activity and other heart-related information, such as heart rate.

During the first week of the trial, participants recorded their normal levels of activity in the app to measure a baseline of activity.

Then, each participant was randomly assigned to one of four different 'soft-touch' interventions.

WHY DO TRACKERS RECOMMEND 10,000 STEPS?

A Japanese athletic company supposedly started the 10,000 step recommendation in the Sixties. 

It released a pedometer called manpo-kei (translated as the 10,000 step meter). 

The company claim this was based on a study by Kyushu University of Health and Welfare on the benefits of taking 10,000 steps. 

The study could not be traced. 

Many fitness trackers, including Fitbit, start everyone off with a 10,000-step goal. 

Adding up to roughly 30 minutes of daily exercise, the goal does satisfy the CDC and NHS recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

However, although the NHS supports the '10,000 step challenge' as an easy way of boosting our activity levels, it still recommends we do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week on top of two or more days of muscle-strengthening sessions.

Some experts warn the 10,000 step recommendation may have been pulled out of thin air.

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