Saturday October 19, 2019

Smartphone App to Boost Physical Activity in Women Shows Promise in Trial

The app increased the participants’ activity goals by 20 percent each week to 10,000 steps daily

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Women participate in a fitness class lead by Kira Stokes, right, at NYSC Lab in New York, May 11, 2017. VOA

A mobile phone application designed to boost physical activity for inactive women has shown promise in a trial.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, shows that the mobile app created for women did help when combined with an activity tracker and personal counselling.

“We showed that if you design an activity app using an evidence-based approach, it will be more effective,” said study lead author Yoshimi Fukuoka, Professor at the University of California in the US.

“Our findings could go a long way to get more people to move, particularly women,” Fukuoka said.

The study, which lasted nine months, was called the mobile phone based physical activity education (mPED) trial.

The app, which was developed exclusively for the study and is not commercially available, had three main functions, including a pre-programmed interactive daily message or video that reinforced what was learned during a beginning counselling session, and a daily activity diary to record progress.

A physically fit women(representational image). Pixabay

The research team designed their app specifically for physically inactive women, incorporating behavioural change strategies known to work well for this group, such as personalised goal setting, self-monitoring, social support and feedback.

The app had three main functions, including a pre-programmed interactive daily message or video that reinforced what was learned during a beginning counselling session, and a daily activity diary to record progress.

The trial involved 210 physically inactive women, aged 25 and 65.

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The app increased the participants’ activity goals by 20 percent each week to 10,000 steps daily.

These findings showed that the women were able to sustain an impressive level of activity above their starting point with the help of the app. (IANS)

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The First All-Women Spacewalk is Set to Take Place This Week: NASA

According to NASA, The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours

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Spacewalk
The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA. Pixabay

The first all-woman spacewalk is set to take place this week itself as NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are scheduled to venture outside the International Space Station (ISS) on October 17 or October 18.

The spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA.

“@Space_Station update: our first all-female spacewalk with @Astro_Christina and @Astro_Jessica will be Thursday or Friday to replace a faulty battery charge-discharge unit,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted on Tuesday.

Station managers decided to postpone previously planned spacewalks that had been set to install new batteries this week and next in order to replace the faulty power unit, called a Battery Charge/Discharge Unit (BCDU).

The BCDU failed to activate following the October 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s truss.

Spacewalk
The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA. Pixabay

NASA said that the BCDU failure has not impacted station operations, safety of the crew, or the ongoing experiments aboard the orbiting laboratory, many in preparation for future human missions to the Moon and Mars.

However, the failed power unit does prevent a new lithium-ion battery installed earlier this month from providing additional station power.

An all-woman spacewalk, involving Koch and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, was originally scheduled for March.

But that spacewalk was scuttled because properly fitted spacesuits could not be readied in time for both astronauts, Space.com reported.

Spacewalk
An all-woman Spacewalk, involving Koch and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, was originally scheduled for March. Pixabay

So far, the 15 women who have conducted a spacewalk did so with a male companion. So when Koch and Meir venture out of the space station this week, they will make some long-overdue history.

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This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first. (IANS)