Fighting fit: Google overhauls its health and fitness app

21 Aug 2018

Image: Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich/Shutterstock

Google has worked with several major health organisations to revamp its Google Fit app.

A growing number of people are using fitness apps to monitor their health and fitness. To complement this, Google has announced some major changes to its own Google Fit offering. The alterations are the biggest since the app’s 2014 launch.

The company has teamed up with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to bring more science-based features to the product.

With hundreds and thousands of health and fitness apps on the market, Google Fit has some fierce competition.

Two new activity goals

The new Google Fit revolves around two activity goals based on recommendations from these organisations. ‘Move Minutes’ and ‘Heart Points’ will help users track their activity. People can earn Move Minutes for all their activity and can be motivated to make small alterations, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift.

For the more strenuous activities with even greater health benefits, users can earn Heart Points. Users will score one point for each minute of moderate activity, such as picking up the pace when walking your dog. For more intense undertakings such as running, users earn double points.

Just 30 minutes of brisk walking, five days a week, is enough to reach the AHA and WHO’s recommended amount of physical activity. This could reduce risk of heart disease, improve sleep quality and increase general mental wellbeing.

Image of the new Google Fit app on a mobile device, showing new features.

The new Google Fit. Image: Google

Google Fit integrates with other fitness apps

Google Fit will still automatically track walks, runs and bike rides using your smartphone or watch sensors. The app also has a list of more than 120 activities, from Pilates to rowing and spinning.

Integrations with apps such as MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper are also an option.

Margaret Hollendoner, head of product at Google Fit, said: “There’s a lot of talk out there about how to stay active and healthy; ‘get your steps in’, ‘sitting is the new smoking’, ‘no pain, no gain’.

“It can feel overwhelming. So, we’ve worked with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to understand the science behind physical activity and help you optimise the amount and intensity needed to improve your health.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects