Google revamps Fit app to make health goals less intimidating

Google is updating its health app to better motivate users who struggle with regular exercise, CNBC reports.

Like many consumer health products, Google's Fit app set a goal of 10,000 steps for users to hit each day. However, after researching how users felt about the Fit app, the company's product team found many see goals like that as intimidating — leading them to stop using the app after a limited period.

"We noticed that some of our users were intermittent, meaning they'd open up the app at New Years' but their activity levels weren't sustained," Margaret Hollendoner, Google Fit's head of product, told CNBC. "We wanted to support the users that were struggling to stay motivated."

Google is shifting to a strategy where it encourages users to exercise in smaller ways, with a goal of reaching 150 minutes of moderate activity and 75 minutes of vigorous activity each day.

Google worked with the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization to develop the features on Fit — such as "heart points" and "move minutes," which encourage users to pursue various small activities like taking the stairs rather than an elevator — so its goals were aligned with physicians' recommendations.  

Ms. Hollendoner said the Fit team considered various "small habit changes" that are realistic for users who struggle with regular exercise, rather than trying to encourage them to abruptly tackle a serious fitness regimen, according to CNBC.

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