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Garmin Health and movival Join Forces to Help Prevent New and Recurrent Cancers Through Exercise

The adage that ”exercise is good for you” is true for many things but does that include cancer? Could better physical health help avoid or treat the second most common cause of death and illness in Europe? When you realise that a massive 60% of all cancer cases are due to unhealthy lifestyle choices*, then the answer becomes much more obvious. Unhealthy lifestyle choices age our body past its years, while an active lifestyle can help keep us young for longer by halting the biological clock in our genes. Based on the Nobel Prize-winning research of Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and colleagues, movival GmbH has created an exercise program intended to help do just that.

The Science

Cancer and other diseases can result from what are effectively typing errors in our DNA when our cells divide. Each cell in the human body contains 46 chromosomes on which our genetic information is stored, and this information is protected by caps called telomeres (you can think of them like the caps on shoelaces to stop the laces fraying). The older we get, the shorter these protective caps become, reducing the protection they provide and increasing the risk of DNA breaks and typing errors during cell division.

However, telomeres can themselves be protected by a protein (enzyme), called telomerase, which almost stops the shortening of the telomere end pieces in the DNA. This effectively keeps them younger and better able to protect against disease. Exercise is essential to this process because telomerase is more active in people who engage in regular physical activity.

The late Priv.-Doz. Dr. Thomas Widmann, movival co-founder, said that “Physical activity is key when it comes to disease prevention and recurrence. Scientific studies clearly show the positive correlation between increased physical activity and disease prevention.  When it comes to cancer, every second patients invest in their physical activities counts towards reducing their risk for cancer recurrence. Modern media, like apps and fitness trackers, are important tools for patients and may encourage them to adhere to their exercise program.”

The movival Program

movival GmbH has created a movement app that helps in this digital fight against cancer, the first of its kind to be certified as a medical device. According to movival, the app helps to reduce the risk of cancer and can, in some cases, improve the chances of surviving cancer by up to 67%.**

Features of the movival app include:

  • Simple points system and easy-to-understand overview
  • Rewards program
  • Medical data and documentation for use by clinicians
  • Easily digestible news and information on cancer research
  • Bespoke training plans and goals
  • Different subscription options

Activity recorded on Garmin wearables is fed directly into the movival program, thanks to an integration with the Garmin Health API. Users earn points based on different activities. And it’s not just about athletic pursuits – the plan also allows for everyday exercise like housework and mowing the lawn. “It was a logical step for movival to work with the Garmin Health API and connect two previously separate worlds. Combining data from Garmin users with the movival exercise program creates a great health and prevention tool with a medical basis,” said Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Gehring, co-founder of movival.

The Long-term Benefits for Health

The benefits of this program extend further than just the individual – specialists can track the development of patients remotely, identifying issues and taking preventive steps that can help avoid the cost of ongoing medical bills. Garmin and movival are providing support for individuals, clinicians and communities alike, with their combination of advanced wearable technology and expert scientific knowledge.


* http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/cancer/data-and-statistics
** https://ascopubs.org/doi/pdf/10.1200/JCO.2007.15.9822

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