News: Can your iPhone help you get fit?

Move over, Wii Fit! Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have developed a new kind of fitness game that you can

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Move over, Wii Fit! Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have developed a new kind of fitness game that you can take anywhere, any time, thanks to technology in your cell phone.

Chinmay Manohar, from the Mayo Clinic’s Department Endocrinology, Nutrition and Diabetes, has worked with a team of health researchers to develop a program called the Walk n’ Play, which helps people monitor their physical activity throughout the day using the built-in motion-sensor technology in the iPhone and iPod Touch. Unlike other devices that can only detect running or fast walking, this application will allow people to track movements as slow as 0.8 kilometres per hour.

If you’re feeling uninspired by your pedometer and aren’t inclined to shell out out the cash for tech gadgets like the Nike+, the new Walk n’ Play app may be just what you’re looking for. Available for free download from iTunes, the app features a gaming element that allows you to compete against friends and strangers using social media tools like Twitter.

While there is no shortage of video game fitness options, Manohar hopes that this free game will encourage people to make more subtle changes in their daily lives. "You have to put an element of fun into the whole thing to encourage people to be more active," Manohar said. "We put people into a gaming mindset and people unknowingly do exercise and have fun doing it."

What do you think? Will an iPhone app inspire you to be more active, or are other sources of motivation more effective?

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