America Walks Study “A Great Motivator” say 75 Race Runner/Marathoner

Setting up a goal of running 50 races before the age of 45 and 100 races before the age of 50, is not a fathomable idea for the most of us. Dr. Ashwini Wagle, a professor at the Nutrition and Food Science Department at San Jose State University, is not amongst those “most of us”. Dr. Wagle has been involved with sports activities like swimming since she was “very little”, but started running at the age of 16 while growing up in India. Telling us about her love for running, she says that she has been running for almost 30 years now, however, started participating in the races that “count”, only 3.5 years ago.

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And if this is not enough to make your jaw drop, she is aiming to complete those 100 races before next year when she turns 46.

I count 10K’s and above to my race tally and have run 10ks, 12Ks, 15ks, half-marathons and relays. I have also done one triathlon.

When asked about the nutrition secret behind her runs she says “there is no magic food or diet”, but she prefers eating a high carbohydrate meal before the race and during training.

I make sure to eat healthy for most part and drink lots of water. I do like to drink chocolate milk right after a race for protein content and muscle recovery.

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Being an avid runner Dr. Wagle uses fitness apps and wearables to track her physical activity parameters like the number of steps, heart rate etc. “I wear a fitbit and use Mapmyrun to log all my physical activity” she explains. She started wearing fitbit since last year only, but has been recording all her physical activity on Mapmyrun for the last 4 years.

Now, Dr. Wagle is not only running to met her goals and keep fit. While enjoying her runs and collecting marathon medals, she is also contributing to human health research. She is part of America Walks Study and has consented to her walking data being used for research.

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America Walks study is the first mobile-based study aimed at collecting walk data to study walking behavior of Americans. The study app, which is downloadable on both iOS (5s & above) and Andriod phones, tells how the participants are actually walking compared to their own perception of walking, and also compared to their buddy walkers who downloaded the app, in their state as well as across America.

Dr. Wagle downloaded the America Walks Study (AWS) App to know her walking behavior compared to her buddy walkers across America, and she thinks it could act as a “great motivator”.

I liked the study and I liked the fact that it calculated the steps walked and gave me a comparison of where I placed compared to others in my state and country.

Think about all the data Dr. Wagle is generating while running these races and marathons – number of miles she ran; number of steps taken; amount of sweat produced; her breathing pattern while running; condition of her joints before, during and after the run; and what not! With #mhealth in the air and with apps & wearables available to be worn on each and every part of the body, it is possible to record all this data for use in advancing research on physical activity and human health & diseases to generate valuable findings.

So how are these apps performing so far? TrialX’s CTO and co-founder Dr. Chintan Patel discussed the making, performance and statistics of America Walks Study app in the Mobile in Clinical Trials Conference on the 19th of September, 2016 in Boston.

Dr. Wagle thinks that apps like America Walks may act as a great motivator or a driving force for people procrastinating over taking up healthy exercise habits. “I am sure as I was motivated to see my ranking and better it and I always ranked very high” she says. What would she have liked this app to provide more? She says “The only drawback was that you have to continuously have the phone with you to get a correct log.”

America Walks study started recruiting on 29th February, 2016 and will continue to do so until 30th September 13, 2016. You can download the app on your iOS (5s and above) as well as Android phones from here: http://www.trialx.com/americawalksstudy/ 

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