Canada’s leading researchers and patient educators in brain and joint health have launched the world’s first Apple ResearchKit app designed to help sedentary adults start moving and contribute to ground breaking research at the same time.

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE), Canadian Association of Retired Persons, Alzheimer Society of BC, along with a research team from Arthritis Research Canada, are proud to announce its new Walk 10 Blocks Study App on Apple’s ResearchKit platform, the first to launch in Canada.

Research has shown that walking 10 blocks a day, about 1 km or 0.6 miles, may help delay or minimize risk of dementia and help improve cardiovascular and joint health over time. The first version of Walk 10 Blocks will focus on supporting sedentary individuals, particularly those living with musculoskeletal health issues who lead sedentary lives, to include exercise into their daily life, by moving more and sitting less and take a more active role in their health. The Study App also enables individuals to participate directly from iPhone in a large-scale research study called ICON (Improving Cognitive & Joint Health Network), funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

“As the Knowledge User Team Lead and consumer collaborator in ICON, ACE and its members across Canada are excited about this opportunity to expand research on a much broader scale and hopefully lead to insights into the benefits of walking for adults who are inactive, older and at risk or struggling with arthritis or cognitive health issues,” said Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President of ACE.

Along with collecting research data, the Walk 10 Blocks Study App, makes it easy for users, with simple, navigation and design concepts, to set personal daily walking goals and rate the quality of their walk and indicate the purpose of their walk. Walk 10 Blocks Study App users will receive daily notifications on progress towards meeting their personal walking goals and encouraging them to get up and walk. To keep them engaged, users will be rewarded with badges as they complete their goals, rate their walks, and complete their surveys.

Surveys will be given in the beginning, middle, and end of the user experience. The surveys will help determine the feasibility and usability of the app, inform researchers on walking and behavioural patterns, and environmental factors that may determine if and how a person meets their personal walking goal.

“We’re thrilled with the potential Walk 10 Blocks on the ResearchKit platform has on conducting important research that may provide evidence on how we can help delay dementia and improve cardiovascular and joint health over time,” said Dr. Linda Li, PT, PhD of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia and Principle Investigator of ICON. “We believe that giving individuals the tools to motivate them to move and track their health is incredibly powerful, empowering people to take a more active role in their care.”

The app is free to download and available on iPhone 5S or newer iPhone devices. Users must be 19 years or older and must have access to a valid email address and internet connection.

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