September 29th is World Heart Day, and to honor it, we wanted to highlight a story about a recent Australian study that found text messages helpful in improving the lives of patients with heart disease. Yes, you read that right: text messages.
About 350 patients received around four text messages per week that reminded them to do things such as exercise more, eat less salt or quit smoking. At the end of the study, researchers found these patients were more likely to remember to take medications, lose weight, quit smoking, increase physical activity and participate in other activities that lower blood pressure. Their counterparts to the study, who did not receive the text messages, did not show the same results.
Does this study prove that text messages are the golden ticket of improving heart health? No, but what it does suggest is that we can use the technology we have to help better our health. If used right, it could be the very catalyst we are looking for to make big changes.
There are a number of apps available that monitor everything from how many steps you take daily to how many times you go through the REM cycle while you sleep. You can monitor your heart rate, your calories burned and your number of active minutes all from your phone. Why not be reminded every now and then of the small things that, when done consistently, can make a big difference down the road? Things like walking for 30 minutes each day, eating less saturated and trans fat, including more greens and grains in your diet and cutting back on sugary drinks. These reminders, when delivered through the convenience of our cell phones, just might be the missing ingredient to putting us on the straight and narrow path toward heart health.
How would you respond to text message reminders? Do you think your health would improve? Let us know your thoughts and join us in conversation on Facebook!