How many investments of your time have a five-to-one return? In the field of cardiology, we know of one: getting more active. Researchers have found that for every minute of physical activity that increases a person's heart rate, life was extended by at least 5 minutes. Besides helping your heart, something else happens, too. Your brain functions better, you sleep more soundly, and you help keep your weight in better check. We all want to be more active, but knowing how much activity to do and keeping track of it all isn’t easy. Today’s announcement of Google’s new Fit App and its launch of “Heart Points” is an exciting step, both for preventive cardiologists like myself and for Google Fit users around the world, in supporting better health.
All movement is good, but science shows that the best physical activities for your health are ones that get your heart pumping. That’s why the worldwide physical activity recommendations, including those from the American Heart Association and World Health Organization, are for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, like a brisk walk, and double credit for vigorous activity (75 minutes per week if jogging, swimming, etc.). The new Google Fit App for Android smartphones and Wear OS by Google smartwatches is designed not only to give you credit for all your Move Minutes, but also to help you keep track of your Heart Points based on the above recommendations – 1 Heart Point for each minute of moderate activity and 2 Heart Points for each minute of vigorous activity. Heart Points are an important addition to the field of mobile health. By incorporating the recommended calculations directly into the app, users now have an automatic way to track this very meaningful metric to enhance their overall health. Even more, Google Fit will meet people where they are by helping to adjust goals over time based on their individual activity level.
As recently reviewed in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, using wearables and mobile phones to track health in a robust way is growing both for consumer devices as well as in research. Wearables such as the Verily Study Watch have been deployed in multiple studies, including The Project Baseline Study. At Stanford, mobile health apps like MyHeart Counts, which has enrolled over 50,000 participants, enable research on patterns of real-world physical activity and ways to promote individual and population health.
It was a pleasure to work with the team at Google to develop Heart Points. As Head of Cardiovascular Innovations at Verily, and an early researcher and advocate in the value of mobile devices to measure and promote physical activity, I am excited that so many people will be able to tune into their health in a heart-forward, easily accessible way through the new Google Fit. Get active - every Heart Point counts!
Posted by Michael V. McConnell, MD, MSEE Head, Cardiovascular Health Innovations, Verily Clinical Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University Co-Chair, 2030 Impact Goal Task Force, American Heart Association