Revolutionary App For Region Aims To Help People Stay Fitter & Healthier 

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A revolutionary smartphone app is being launched across Dumfries and Galloway – aimed at helping people to stay fitter and healthier.

Staying active is one of the best things we can do in order to remain healthy as years pass.

The new app launched by Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership will help people better understand their own health and fitness, and provide advice to people of every age on how to stay fitter and healthier for longer.

Lynne Mann is Lead AHP of Community Health and Social Care, and she said: “The app is called LifeCurve, which is based on cutting-edge research by UK scientists into ageing and is being employed as part of the Still Going research project.

“We’re very proud that Dumfries and Galloway is one of the first regions in the country to be a part of this of this research project which will see learning shared with the team at the University of Strathclyde.
“If people try out the app they will find that it may offer them a better understanding of their current levels of health and fitness, that it provides suggestions to slow or even reverse any decline, and a means to map their progress.”

LifeCurve emerged from work carried out by Professor Peter Gore and his team at Newcastle University, who concluded that the decline in people’s health and wellbeing can be plotted on a progressive curve.

This ‘LifeCurve’ supports people to assess their current level of fitness and ability, anticipate changes, and take action to help slow or even reverse possible declines.

Professor Gore and his team found that people tend to lose the ability to do various everyday activities in a set order.

Earlier, they stop being able to walk briskly, get up from the floor, or cut their own toenails.

Later on, they tend to lose the ability to cook a hot meal, perform light housework and get up from a chair unaided.

Professor Gore’s team mapped these events on to a typical lifespan, producing the LifeCurve.

Someone who follows the typical curve is progressing at an average rate, while someone sitting above the curve is still able to do things that most people their age can no longer manage.

Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership invited Professor Gore to speak at a public event in 2019, where he said: “Even clinicians are surprised by how much control we have over our own aging process, so I was thrilled to be able to share my learnings with this audience, knowing that they will do their utmost to share the knowledge with their patients and to seek the best interventions possible for them.” 

Everyone has the ability to improve their position on the curve and it does not take much to do it. Small, simple increases in daily activity levels can make a huge difference – keeping people fit, active, healthy and happy for much longer.

What is required is to know that it is possible and where to start – which is where the app comes in.

The app was developed by Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and the software company ADL Smart Care. It is being used as part of Strathclyde’s Still Going project, led by Susan Kelso.

The LifeCurve app allows people to track their own activity levels day by day, and compare them to the expected levels for their age. It will also provide information about suitable activities at home and outside, and other ways to stay healthy and active.

It is free to download and is available for Apple and Android phones. People without smartphones may be eligible for help to acquire one as part of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s digital inclusion efforts.

The Strathclyde team will use some of the data which the app collects to support their own research, but all the data is collected anonymously; the researchers will not have access to anyone’s names or other personal information.

Anyone is welcome to participate, and there is more information about the project on https://stillgoingproject.co.uk/, including links to download the app.

Dumfries and Galloway’s Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “Thanks to this research, we already know far more about how people’s activity levels change with age and what they can do to stay healthy and active. It’s really amazing how much of a difference a few small changes to your lifestyle can make – it can mean many more years of active and independent life.
“The LifeCurve app is a simple tool to help everyone make those changes, and we believe that using it could make a huge improvement to the lives of people of every age.”

 

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