By: Michaela Lecklitner
Whether its your new year’s resolution to get fit or simply something you enjoy there are many ways to maintain your health at any stage of life. One of the biggest problem for aging and older adults is getting motivated to work out. Two apps that come on both the Apple and Android devices are the Fitbit app and The Running app. Both are some great ways to keep a person motivated by making them accountable for working out and tracking the food you they eat.
The fit bit running app allows you to view progress towards your daily goals for steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes (Fitbit, 2014). It also allows you to track your sleep at night and then create goals for sleeping throughout the week. This app is all tracked with a wearable Multi-tracker support system. The tracker comes in a verity of different colors and designs. For people who like to wear it on their seems of their pants they have both the Fittbit Zip and the Fittbit One. The other choice is to wear it on the persons wrist and these come in 12 other designs and colors (Fitbit, 2014). It just depends on how how much screen on the actual tracker the person wants. The trackers that have more of a screen will tell you more information such as heart rate, steps, and even the total distance walked that day. The ones that don’t have a bigger screen will tell less information and are going to be for people who don’t like to have bigger and bulker things on their wrist. The tracker will only need to be charged every couple of days and some of them can be warn in the shower and pools. The app will be bluetooth connected so throughout the day you can check on the app see if you have reached your goal. You also can input the amount of calories that you are eating and keep yourself more accountable. This helps keep everything in one place and at the end of each week it will put it altogether in a weekly review so you know what your goals for the next weeks will be. Lastly, fitbit makes a weight scale that you can purchase separately that will keep all of your weigh ins tracked to help you maintain the weight you prefer all connected back to the actual app.
The running app is another form of tracking the progress you are making. This app is a little different then the fittbit app because it doesn’t have a tracker to wear around. The app has two different programs available. The first one is free and the other one is $10 a month. The free program allows for free training’s and a calorie counter as well as a few tips and your own virtual personal trainer to help you along the way. The app is all focused on running and is easy to use. The user has to pick if they want to run everyday or other day based on the time commitment they can make. After that you can choose what level of runner that you are. The app will adjust the level of workout that you choose. You can put your age, height and weight to allow for better trainings. The app will help to create workout that will help you become the best runner you want to be. Next, you can start the actual workout part. It will talk to you and tell you if you should be running or walking. The best part about the work out is that it gives you an amount of time to run and walk rather then a distance. This allows the user to be more focused on the time they have left rather then the miles they are running. This app also focuses on the amount of water you drink. It calculates what you should be drinking everyday based on the information you provide. It also has set reminders to make you want to drink more water throughout the day before and after the workout. This is important for older adults especially because they have decreased B-Cell Functioning causing decreased antibodies and then can lead to failure of self-regulation and increased autoantibodies (Cavanaugh J. C., & Blanchard-Fields F, 2015).
One of the biggest stereotypes that older adults tend to have on them is that they become less active and overall loose motivation. Apps like the fittbit and Running app have allowed them to break past this serotypes and have more motivation. A study done to better understand what motivates older adults to exercise proved that a six major themes allow them to be more active. The study had older adults who ranged from ages 65-89 do a series of interviews before and after a series of work outs (Resnick B, & Spellbring A, 2000). This study looked at both a qualitative and quantitative design to research the major themes the older adults were experiencing. These themes are beliefs about exercise, benefits of exercise, past experience with exercise, goals, personality and unpleasant sensations associated with exercise (Resnick B, & Spellbring A, 2000). Apps like Fittbit and the running app help to create more ways for them to be excited about staying healthy. These can help teach older adults about the benefits of exercise, establishing goals, and decreasing unpleasant sensations associated with exercise (Resnick B, & Spellbring A, 2000). The other important aspect this brings to older adults is the sharing of information. Both apps can be shared through online social media such as Facebook. Some people rely on others to motivate them. The theme that the team found to be very imporatnt to older adults is getting over past experiences that were negative. This had a significant issue with the subjects because a person may not think they can do this alone. The society we live in has a huge impact on the level of confidence older adults have in themselves. We put the negative stereotypes on them that they can’t do the same activities as other people. When society can start to make more apps that can benefit everyone at any age, we will see a generation of happier and healthy people. Lastly, there is something called goal directed memory. This shows the cognitive control in older adult’s emotional memory (Mather, M & Knight, M, 2005). This study of this proved that older adults who did well on tasks involving cognitive control were going to be show poorly to positive pictures in memory (Mather, M & Knight, M, 2005). The interesting part of this study is that it looked at younger adults too and they were not directly effect by the role of the cognitive control. This overall proves that unless the older adult can get over the negative memory they will struggle to be motivated to work out as well as want try the Fitbit or Running app.
There is a belief that the fittbit isn’t accurate enough for older adults and it part of the reason that they choose not use these. The fitbit doesn’t have a way to change the settings based on the age of the person using it people would complain that the app was not being sensitive to the user and older adults were frustrated with spending the money on something they believed didn’t track them accurately. A study done to test the accuracy of the Fitbit tested 32 community dwelling adults aged over 60. Each older adult would wear the Fitbit as well as the Actigraph. The Actigraph is another tracker used to keep tract of steps. Each person wears the trackers for 2 minutes, as well as then during a seven-day period. The final test conclude that the Fitbit tracker is sufficiently accurate and should be used by adults to monitor the steps and overall health. They were able to accurately quantify steps in community dwelling older adults. The study also proved that the accelerometer undercounted older adults with overall good mobility (Paul, S. S, Tiedemann A, Hassett L. M, Ramsay E, Kirkham, C, Chagpar S, & Sherrington, C. 2015).
Overall quality of life is important for the foundation of anyone’s life. But specifically in older adults as they look back on everything they have accomplished. Most research done on quality of life has focused on two areas and they are quality of life in the context of specific diseases or conditions and quality of life of life relating to end-of-life issues (Cavanaugh, J. C & Blanchard-Fields, F, 2015). These are factors that can be changed with maintaining a healthy lifestyle toward the end of life and can be benefited with both the Fittbit app and the Running App. Setting goals and tracking your progress all can lead to being more happy and heathy.
Cavanaugh, J. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2015). Adult development and aging. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Fitbit Blog. 2014
Mather, M., & Knight, M. (2005, December). Goal-directed memory: The role of cognitive control in older adults’ emotional memory. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from
Paul, S. S., Tiedemann, A., Hassett, L. M., Ramsay, E., Kirkham, C., Chagpar, S., & Sherrington, C. (2015, July 01). Validity of the Fitbit activity tracker for measuring steps in community-dwelling older adults. Retrieved April 24, 2017,
Resnick, B., & Spellbring, A. (200, March 1). Understanding What MOTIVATES Older Adults to Exercise. Retrieved April 24, 2017, fromunderstanding-what-motivates-older-adults-to-exercise