If your health, fitness and mental wellbeing have yo-yoed in the past year, shame off you. You’re doing the best you can in a global pandemic. Whether you’ve lost your motivation to keep active or are just starting to realise the importance of health, the good news is that LumiHealth by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board may be the kickstart you need. The app which lives on Apple Watch, encourages healthy lifestyle changes through a personalised program that focuses on your holistic health and wellness, including physical activity, mental health, sleep, nutrition, preventative screening, immunisation reminders and regular tips on coping with life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Built by physicians and public health experts, LumiHealth marries technology with behavioural insights and is all about hacking your habits to help you get healthier and happier.
And the stats speak for themselves. Since launching in October 2020, the app has seen 200,000 downloads and served over 7 million health and wellness challenges. For the Singaporeans being the stress-heads we are, the app has also served more than 3 million mental wellbeing challenges including stress management tips. Best of all, it’s free to use and by completing in-app challenges, users are able to earn rewards worth up to S$380 over the two-year duration of the program.
Vogue Singapore spoke to three women on how they’ve made strides in their wellbeing via this holistic health coaching app.
Faz Gaffa, 35, marketer
You’ve always been a serial ‘ring closer’. How has your relationship to health and fitness changed during the pandemic?
I’ve always enjoyed working out at the gym, but during the pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of time at home and my workouts have been at home, or revolved around having my child close to me. While I don’t have access to weights and machines at the gym anymore, I’ve turned to doing a lot more things on apps or subscriptions. As someone who wears multiple hats, is a marketer, a busy mum, a caregiver, how do you carve out the time to work out and stay fit I wouldn’t say I’m fit, but I really do enjoy working out. Sometimes it means doing a HIIT session next to my kid at the playground, or waking up half an hour before my usual to squeeze in a morning yoga stretch.
Name the biggest game changer for your health.
I always talk about bettering myself and I think the Apple Watch and LumiHealth gives me goals and tactics I can use to meet small, achievable goals. It also really helps that LumiHealth is gamified and incentivised. Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for their hard work?
“Fitness means feeling strong, calm and rested.”
Having an app is one thing. Putting in the work is another. How do you psych yourself up for fitness particularly on days where you’re tired and over it?
Pure vanity. I kid—if I’m tired and over it, I’m tired and over it. We’ve living through a pandemic—our bodies are in fight or flight mode and there’s just no point in trying to do something when you really don’t want to. But the half hour, or the hour that I take out of my day to practice yoga, or work out, or just to get some movement in means I will feel better—and that’s what we’re all trying to do now, right? Feel a little better than we did before?
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Vanessa Caitlin, 29, director, producer and photographer
“With the constant work-from-home fatigue, it’s been harder than ever to stay on track with my journey towards a healthier me,” says Vanessa Caitlin who lost between 28 to 30 kilograms after a health awakening in late 2019. “Thanks to the personalised challenges on LumiHealth, it’s like the app knew just what I needed to feel motivated and meet my fitness goals. Together with my Apple Watch, it’s so easy to keep track of my workouts, close my Activity rings every day, and earn LumiPoints. LumiHealth isn’t just about the challenges though, it’s also educated me on the benefits of vaccines, whole grains, as well as sleep health.”
You’ve bravely shared your journey to health on social media, what are you most proud of when it comes to your health and fitness journey
I’m proud of my lifestyle change, which has significantly
As a director and producer, you’re always on your feet. What other exercises or movements do you incorporate to keep active?
Erg workouts are my definite go-tos for cardio. After discovering the ‘Ride, Ski, Row’ class at The Row Space, I fell in love with the combination of the Indoor Rower, SkiErg, and BikeErg. That said, strength sessions are just as if not more important than cardio, so I try to do strength workouts as often as possible too. Taking it outdoors, cycling and long walks are definitely on the top of my list. Once it becomes easier to travel again, my first destination would definitely be to a place where I can hike up a hill or mountain—something I never got a chance to do since starting my fitness journey because of COVID-19.
“To be fit is the most tangible way of feeling free, nothing else comes as close. It’s strength, energy, confidence, and resilience. It’s being balanced and centred but also agile. Fitness is being able to move, to live your life to the fullest without your body weighing you down (pun intended).”
Name the biggest game changer for your health.
When it comes to working out, being able to track my heart rate is so important as it allows me to see how efficiently I’m using my energy, keeps me on track and motivated during each workout. I even get notifications on my watch, telling me when I’ve closed my exercise ring which is very encouraging especially when you are pushing hard at the gym. It’s also nice to see how much calories have been burned per session. LumiHealth has also helped to keep me motivated (even in smaller ways like standing while working instead of sitting), to get a workout in, it also educates me on nutrition, and reminds me to look after my diet.
@vanessa.caitlinStill on my ##fitnessjourney 💪🏻 ##fittok ##fyp ##foryoupage ##tiktoksg ##gym ##weightloss ##weightlosstransformation♬ original sound – Nathan French
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get fit and healthy but has either zero motivation or no idea where to start?
Try a variation of exercises, be it sport or gym based. It has to be a workout that you enjoy or you will dread doing it. Similarly, find a gym or community of people you enjoy working out with. That was very important for me, because going to the gym became hanging out with friends—it’s much more enjoyable this way and also keeps you accountable. Finally, nothing good will come from comparing yourself to someone else, we are all unique and the motivation for a lifestyle change has to come from within or it won’t stick. It should never be about the numbers on the scale, but how you feel! Remember that every walk, run, workout that you do adds up and will effect change. Stay active and keep pushing on.
Candice Phang, 38, artist and illustrator
How has your relationship and perception of your body, health and beauty evolved during your pregnancy?
I have definitely become more mindful about my choice of food and daily activity, such as making sure that I hit my 30-minutes of walk-time every day, try to get enough sleep, etc. To be honest, there are so many changes that my body is experiencing during this time—mentally, physically, and emotionally, it’s definitely quite a struggle for me to keep up. Undeniably, there are good and bad days, for instance, there are days where I feel beautiful being pregnant and I embrace my stretch marks, but there are also days where I’m very affected by it. This constant ups and downs has made me realise the importance of mental wellbeing, and I started to pay more attention to being mindful and focusing on the present, just like the saying goes ‘mind over matter’, it is indeed very true.
As an illustrator, you’re often at your desk, absorbed in your art. I imagine reminders to move and stay active come in handy.
For sure! The reminders to move and stay active has definitely helped a lot. The Activity app helps me keep track of how much I moved, exercise and stand on a daily basis. I can also edit my goals to suit my needs. For example, pregnant women are encouraged to have at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily, and the Apple Watch makes it super easy for me to keep track of my activity and also check my activity history.
Working as a creative, I also have quite an irregular sleeping pattern because my workload largely runs on a project basis, so I find that the Sleep app helps me track and achieve my sleep goals by creating my desired sleep schedules. In this sense, the Apple Watch has definitely helped regulate my very irregular sleeping patterns which in turn makes me feel more well-rested and productive in the day.
How has LumiHealth impacted your life?
Not gonna lie, my favourite aspect of LumiHealth are the incentives that come with being healthy, like I can use my points for coins that can be redeemed as vouchers. I also really enjoy the non-physical challenges on LumiHealth that helps me improve my diet and nutrition, mindfulness, etc. It’s pretty fun to challenge myself to no sugar/salty food challenges, or improving my sleep with no screen time. Through some of these mini challenges, it has also made me realise that I can in fact make a change for a healthier option, and it’s not that hard after all.
Share the biggest game changer for your health.
For me, the biggest game changer for my health is that LumiHealth makes staying healthy a fun process. I love how it is designed and the different worlds and small challenges are not only engaging and interactive, it’s also informative. And being a visual person, the game design has encouraged me to explore further into the other ‘worlds’, where I will complete more challenges which improves my overall health. If not for the app, it will require a lot more self-discipline to keep up with this lifestyle.
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What are some of the steps you’ve taken to stay mentally positive and in the moment?
I’ve definitely started to prioritising this aspect of my health over other things, starting with very basic stuff like only choosing to do the things that makes me happy and comfortable, such as spending more time with my cats, watching more cat videos and staying away from tear-jerking shows with terrible endings. I particularly like the new Mindfulness app on the Apple Watch because it sends reminders to get me to Breathe and Reflect, and this helps me to focus, center, and stay mindful. Even though this is may seem like a very easy task, I personally find that it that requires a lot more discipline to keep up with it on a regular basis, so having these reminders really helps me to set aside a few minutes to do these mindfulness exercises regularly.
Some of the my other favourite mindful apps are: Headspace for meditation and short meditative exercises to accompany my walks, and there’s also a pregnancy course in Headspace which I find extremely useful; Relax Melodies for ambience tunes to help me fall asleep when I can’t get to sleep and the Sleep App helps to keep track of sleep cycle and maintain a more regular sleep pattern.
How do you stay motivated to keep active during pregnancy?
I stay motivated by prioritising the well-being of my newborn baby that’s on the way. Unlike before, my lifestyle choices are not just about me alone but it also involves my little one. Some of the apps which I find useful in keeping me stay active are Prenatal Yoga Down Dog and LumiHealth.