Like Humans Do

Like a helpful friend, the Human App keeps track of your daily activity and encourages you to move.

Afternoon walks are my Podcast time. Usually I listen to something like Nerdist, occasionally mixed in with something a bit more cerebral, like Fresh Air, Science Friday, or recently the Norman Mailer Society Podcast (plug!).

On a recent walk, I caught Terry Gross’ interview of Bill Gifford, author of Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (Or Die Trying). I have a biased interest — as we all should — on how to extend my life, particularly with the help of technology. I figured Gifford would discuss recent breakthroughs in the science of longevity. I was surprised, however, when he mainly advocated exercise as the primary way to live longer.

On exercise, Gifford states:

Anything really, is better than nothing. Basically, we evolved to move around, to run, to walk, to use our bodies and not to just sit around the way most of us do for most of the day. There’s kind of an idea of use it or lose it and that’s really programmed into our biology. The more you use your muscles, the more you’re walking around, the more you’re going to hang on to your muscle as you get older. That’s really important because muscle wasting with age is the second leading cause of admission to nursing homes after Alzheimer’s disease.

This is good news for me, as I have made exercise a priority in my life. I have seen first-hand the benefits of exercise on overall health, and I made the commitment to myself to maintain that as long as I am able. My routine includes running four days a week, bodyweight exercises four days a week, and walking the other three. However, it only takes 30 minutes a day to make a difference.

That’s where Human comes in. Human is a simple app that automagically tracks your activity and encourages you to move at least 30 minutes a day. They state: “Thirty minutes of casual activity is the minimum optimum to get and stay healthy, preferably in short bouts of 10 minutes or more.”

Human is a simple, elegant, and beautiful app. It’s interface is easy to read, and best of all, it communicates with Apple’s built-in Health app to get an even more complete view of your overall health tracking. This likely means that Human will also have some presence on the upcoming Apple Watch.

Human also allows users to create clubs — friends and family groups that chart members’ progress and offer more motivation through friendly competition. Clubs encourage you to invite whomever you’d like, set a background image, and keep tabs on the average activity of your group. Easy, and surprisingly fun.

Human is not the first health tracker, nor will it be the last. However, it’s the first that takes less effort to use — at least that I’m aware of. As long as you have your phone, Human does it’s thing. And why not? Most of us keep our phones in our pockets or in our purses, so using Human is effortless. I look forward to seeing how Human integrates with future wearables — like Apple Watch — and other apps that will grow out of this new trend to help us stay younger longer.

So get Human, queue up your your favorite Podcast, and get out there. It’s what humans do.

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