Thumbs up from Tech Explorers
Back in 2018 we recruited some Tech Explorer volunteers. The idea behind this was to discover apps that make it easy for people to embed exercise into their daily routine.
A Winchester resident fed back on the Johnson & Johnson 7 minute app. This app aims to help people make the most of every minute. The workouts use your own body weight, a wall and a chair to create fun and effective exercises that can be done anytime, anywhere without any equipment. The app has a personal trainer, video demonstrations and workouts that can be customised to your needs. Before using the app our Tech Explorer was somewhat active. She was walking for most of her journeys and doing one yoga class a week but described her job as fairly sedentary.
Alex from Southampton had a go with the Nike training app. This app offers a full body workout that you can do anywhere. The Nike Training Club app has a varied selection of workouts from body weight to gym exercises. You can even tailor your plan to the equipment that you have. A range of short workouts is available that you can do during your breaks. Alex said that he was quite active before using the app. He would try to at least do a 10-minute workout each day, whilst also playing football once a week. He also cycled to work but mentioned that he hasn’t done this since before Christmas. Alex works in IT at the NHS but walks around the hospital a lot for meetings, so he usually gets up to his ‘step count’ (10,000 steps a day).
Activity levels and motivations
For physical activity to be effective your heart rate should be increased and breathing should become faster. As an adult, the recommended amount of physical activity is 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity. Our Winchester resident was reaching 30 minutes per week and Alex was doing 30-60 minutes a week. Both of the Tech Explorers had different reasons for taking part.
The Winchester resident said: “I was currently using a weight loss app and thought trying the app would help with this”.
Alex said : “I was involved with the Workplace Challenge and was contacted by Energise Me afterwards. I am a firm believer in digital technology and how it can improve health with individuals, groups and organisations. My current role in a hospital environment is to roll out digital tech to improve patient care and I try to apply this to my day-to-day well being”.
The Tech Explorers both had similar reasons for choosing their selected apps; they were both motivated by short workouts that would fit into their daily routine. The apps don’t cost anything, which was an added bonus. Alex added that he really enjoys exercise but there are some days where he feels like it is difficult to fit in. The Workplace Challenge helped to push him to do more regular exercise e.g. cycling to work and challenging himself to keep going. Once Workplace Challenge was over he was determined to do more to improve his physical and mental well being, but mentioned that it was hard to keep going without the interaction through technology.
Alex added: “With this now, using the Nike app, I have found that I can do 5/10 minute exercises when time is tight and it keeps track of my progress, which pushes me to get up in the morning and do more”.
Both the apps were rated out of 10 and the results were close. The Nike Training app edged slightly on top of the Johnson & Johnson app with 9.5 compared to 9. When asked what they liked best about the apps the choice of workouts was favoured. Both of our Explorers mentioned that the apps were easy to use, especially with the good instructions and videos of the exercises which helped with learning the different moves. Alex added that the Nike app also looked smart and clean.
The Tech Explorers both used the app for three weeks. The Winchester resident suggested that it would be good if the Johnson and Johnson app included the smart workouts in the progress report. Alex suggested that for the Nike Training app it would be useful to have it’s own step count/health monitoring app, as he currently uses 2 or 3 different apps all recording stats.
Since finishing the three-week trial both the Tech Explorers have said they will continue to use the apps. If you would like to be more physically active but are unsure where to begin, you could also become a Tech Explorer.
“Becoming a Tech Explorer has opened up my eyes to how tech can help me and give me ideas on how it can help others in my role”. Alex, Southampton
A big Thank You to both of our Tech Explorers for getting involved. Have a chat with Jen (details below) for more information.