A recent article from Bostinno.com listed 30 Healthcare Tech Startups and Apps to follow on Twitter. A lot of these startups are creating some pretty neat things for mHealth, so I’m going to talk about a few of them over the next few weeks.
First up, Superproof. This app, as described on its website, is a social game for iPhone + Internet. It helps make exercising more social, competitive, and interactive. As I’ve found with doing Couch-to-5K with my brother, sister, and husband, and posting my results on Facebook afterwards, it is encouraging to have other people cheering you on as you try and meet fitness and health goals.
Basically, the app lets you create goals (such as running a certain amount each month, or doing something active 15 times during the month), send “challenges” to friends, and earn points and trophies. After seeing the success of trophies in the social media platform, FourSquare, I can see how obtaining these different trophies might be motivating for some people.
Here is a quick video from the website, showing a few of the apps features:
One aspect of the app that I thought was pretty neat is being able to “create a vice.” Here, as demonstrated in the video, you can put in some kind of food or drink, perhaps a treat that you are particularly tempted by, and the amount of calories that is in that time, and it will tell you how many calories you’ve burned in terms of that item (i.e., if a candy bar is 250 calories, and you burned 500 calories, it would indicate that 2 candy bars had been burned.) It kind of helps one to visualize not just how much they burned, but the amount of effort it takes to burn something off. I mean, it takes only a minute or so to eat a candy bar, but a lot more time, sweat, and effort is put into burning it off.
As with most health and exercise apps, you can share your results on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Encouragement from friends and family through these mediums can really help. I know I’m always excited when someone comments on something I’ve posted, encouraging me to keep running. Having everyone you know involved in fitness is cool. The website for Superproof poses the following questions about this very subject:
Q. You know what’s super boring?
A. Looking at a map of someone else’s run, or hearing about a friend’s trip to the gym.
Q. You know what’s super tought?
A. Convincing a couch-friendly friend to join you on a bike ride.
Q. Ok, so what’s super awesome?
A. Getting your friends involved in building and maintaining an exercise routine. Just because you only have a small number of friends who like working up a fine sweaty lather, doesn’t mean they can’t help you.