Android: With its latest redesign, Google Fit no longer makes a big deal about your steps for the day (although the number is still there, in fine print). Instead, you’re supposed to be tracking your Move Minutes and the mysterious Heart Points.
Move Minutes are the number of minutes you’ve moved around. You probably figured that out just by reading the words “Move Minutes”. This could be exercise, or even short bouts of activity such as getting up for a cup of coffee.
But Heart Points seem to be confusing people, so here’s what you need to know.
What do Heart Points even measure?
There are many ways to determine how much exercise you should get each day, which is a weird question to answer because the answer is always “more is better”. If you’re using a device to measure exercise, the device will judge you in whatever terms it measures most easily — such as the arbitrary 10,000 steps set as a goal by early pedometer manufacturers.
Heart points actually have some evidence behind them. They represent a minute of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking), of which the American Heart Association says you should get 150 per week.
But wait! Brisk walking is nothing if you’re a runner. If you can work twice as hard as that, shouldn’t you get twice the credit? The answer is yes — the American Heart Association says that 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (such as running) is as good as 150 minutes of moderate.
And so Google Fit awards Heart Points accordingly. If you walk 30 minutes, you get 30 Heart Points. If you run 30 minutes, you get 60 Heart Points. Either way, you’ll make the American Heart Association happy if you earn 150 Heart Points per week.
How do I change my Heart Points target?
When I installed the new Google Fit, it suggested I try to earn 10 Heart Points each day. That isn’t enough to make the guidelines, though — perhaps it wanted to start me off easy.
To adjust your goal, tap Profile in the Google Fit app, and then you can set your Heart Point goal — but remember that it’s per day. So if you’re aiming for 150 per week, that’s about 22 per day. Aim higher if you can, or tweak it downward if you can’t manage that much. Either way, the more you move the better, so aim to get more active over time if you can.