As somebody who’s been struggling to stick to a fitness routine all my life, I’ve tried pretty much all the options you could think of. Paying for gym subscription to let the pain of monetary loss fuel me, joining exercise groups for peer-to-peer motivation, and tuning into YouTube workout videos whenever my schedule allowed – been there, done that.
In a bid to find a fitness regime I could actually stick to, I decided to give the LumiHealth app a go. LumiHealth is a free health programme designed by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, in conjunction with Apple, to help Singaporeans adopt healthy habits through personalised challenges, health tips and reminders using their Apple Watch.
Arguably the best part is that it even lets you earn up to $380 worth of rewards – a surefire way to help even the laziest couch potatoes stay motivated. Here’s my one-week review of this new health and wellness app, and I’m pleased as punch to report that I’m still going strong, taking baby steps towards attaining my goal of long-term fitness and wellness.
I hold a sedentary 9-to-6 job, where I’m almost always stuck behind a desk. After a long day of work, I barely have the time nor energy to hit the pavement running or sweat it out at the gym – resulting in my fitness levels dipping while I pile on the pounds.
With the LumiHealth app installed on my iPhone and paired to my Apple Watch, I get regular updates reminding me to get on my feet after long stretches of inactivity.
It also prevented me from losing interest or motivation within a few days, as the activity challenges in the app are personalised and achievable, paving the way for regular milestones to look forward to. Think of it as taking baby steps towards your long-term health goals!
Screenshots from my LumiHealth app
A highlight that won me over is the fact that LumiHealth taps onto beautiful graphics plus an engaging gaming and advancement factor to keep users hooked – even folks like me who struggle with discipline and motivation. Lu, the friendly in-game intergalactic explorer, advances whenever healthy actions are performed by humans.
So each time I close any of the Stand, Move or Exercise rings on my Apple Watch or complete a challenge, I get to earn points and see little Lu teeter up the ranks in-game.
As I helped Lu advance to different chapters within the game, I found myself getting out of my chair a lot more to stretch throughout the work day, choosing to have a leisurely stroll instead of taking the bus so I could move more, and ensuring I squeeze in ample workout sessions in my schedule.
On top of reminding you when to get a move on, LumiHealth also helps to inject variety in your fitness routines with a diverse range of activity suggestions. Recommendations span from low-impact activities like swimming and yoga to a heart-pumping HIIT sesh.
To prevent workouts from getting stale and repetitive, there are even tips to rope in an exercise buddy, or to go for activities like hiking and dancing. This means you’ll have plenty of ideas on how to work towards closing the Activity rings on your Apple Watch.
From my good ol’ Gameboy Colour back in the 90s to mobile apps today, I’ve always been a sucker for games which allow you to gain XP and level-up.
The way LumiHealth gamifies getting active is right up my alley, as I feel a surge of motivation each time I see my Activity rings inch closer to completion. The more healthy actions I perform, the more Lu advances in the game, navigating through different lands.
The thrill of clocking points from my activity and wellness challenges!
Screenshot from my LumiHealth app
Even when I felt tired, lazy and sticky from sweat, I found myself pushing for a few more reps so that Lu could advance further in his journey. While gaming usually leads to the couch potato life, this was the first game where the more I played, the more calories I burned.
I thought signing up for LumiHealth would be like having a personal trainer in my pocket, but it’s also a wellness advisor and motivational cheerleader all rolled into one. There’s even a recommendation to do a diabetes risk assessment test, and reminders to go for my flu jab so I can keep my immunity tip-top – things I never would’ve expected from a typical health app.
LumiHealth’s prompts to take a break were effective in tearing me from my desk for crucial breathers, lest I inevitably burn out.
Apart from struggling with discipline to stick to fitness routines, something that has plagued me since adolescence is stress and anxiety affecting my emotions. Especially during high-pressure periods at work or when issues sprout in my personal life, my health inevitably takes a hit because my mood and sleep quality start to crash.
As part of the wellness challenges, there were reminders to take a break and engage in some breathing sessions using my Apple Watch – much appreciated for someone like me who tends to get jittery and tightly wound up when the going gets tough. You’d be surprised how much difference it makes to just pause and take a breather!
As someone who’s prone to overthinking and getting bogged down by mental clutter, I really enjoyed LumiHealth’s suggestions for journalling and mood tracking as well. It became something I looked forward to at the end of each day, as it got me to take stock of the events that transpired, and gain insight into why I felt a certain way.
Understanding your emotions and pinpointing negative feelings to a source proved to be helpful, as it allowed me to process what happened and move on with life. By Day 3 of the challenge, I realised that I had become a more peaceful individual, heading to bed each night with less anxiety over past events or dread and worry about things to come.
Who says eating healthy means zero flavour? LumiHealth’s nutrition tips made me reevaluate my diet choices and feed my body the nutrients it needs.
I tend to stress-eat, and peak periods of work pressure always prompt me to reach for sinful snacks like potato chips, chocolate bars and fizzy drinks. The wellness challenges, which also serve nutrition reminders to opt for wholegrain carbs or lower-sugar drinks, are useful to actively help me make healthier food choices.
There’s also a handy guide on the different amounts of vegetables, proteins and carbs you should be consuming each day to hit your nutrition requirements and stay glowing from inside out. A motivational push for me to choose a wholesome meal as opposed to fast food combos!
Confession time: I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I was first issued the challenge of listening to a health app for one week. I anticipated boot camp vibes and, as someone who’s nowhere near fitspo status, I feared that I might have to tap out before the full seven days.
Truth be told, LumiHealth turned out to be more like having a personal cheerleader living in my phone, beaming regular updates of positivity, wisdom and encouragement to make sure I was eating well, staying active and taking care of my mind and body.
The stream of positive updates fuelled me with motivation.
Screenshot of notifications I received from LumiHealth
The adorable aesthetics of the app interface were a plus, and the ability to exchange the coins I received in the game for HPB eVouchers really appealed to me. Suddenly, my fitness and wellness became akin to a video game, and it felt good to see Lu advancing to new ranks – on top of my real-life self feeling good from the surge of endorphins post-workout.
Image credit: LumiHealth
For those seeking even more extrinsic motivation, you’d be pleased to know that you can earn up to $380 worth of HPB eVouchers for your everyday healthy actions using the LumiHealth app and your Apple Watch.
I managed to redeem a $10 HPB eVoucher to offset my Dian Xiao Er bill, enjoying a wholesome and tasty meal together with my family.
Screenshot from my LumiHealth app
The HPB eVouchers can be used at over 40 participating merchants from shopping malls, restaurants, supermarkets to entertainment and lifestyle products.
Take it from someone who’s constantly whining about what a drag it is to exercise, yet dreams of looking and feeling more healthy and in shape. After this one-week trial, I realised that the app’s personalised reminders and activity coaching were able to help me easily integrate small healthy actions in my everyday life.
The kick from completing the various activity and wellness challenges, contributing to a healthier and stronger me, also motivates me to want to do even better in my health journey.
For all my lazy brethren who can’t seem to find 15 minutes a day to exercise but can spend hours levelling up on a game, give LumiHealth a try and level up your health at the same time. You can even get a limited edition Lu plush toy when you download the LumiHealth app from 6th February 2021, while stocks last.
This post was brought to you by Health Promotion Board.
Photography by Pichan Cruz.
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