Digital, a solution against inactivity

Last updated:

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.2 million deaths each year are attributable to physical inactivity (1). Lack of physical activity is more deadly than smoking. It affects more and more people; men and women alike. Namely, walking only 15 minutes each day reduces mortality by 14%, regardless of the individual, whether young or old (2). The question is therefore to understand why Man no longer even bothers to do these 15 minutes of daily walking. One of the main reasons is the new means of consumption and our massive use of new technologies. However, digital technology could be the beginning of a response to this global issue. The WeWard mobile app is one of those young startups that offer an interesting concept, combining digital and intelligence.

Inactivity, an important risk factor for death

Inactivity is defined as a lack of physical activity. According to the WHO, physical activity includes “any movement produced by skeletal muscles, responsible for an increase in energy expenditure” (3).

Sedentary and physical inactivity should not be confused. The term physical inactivity is used to describe a level of physical activity below the recommended physical activity threshold. However, inactivity concerns a lack of activity caused by external factors.

Everyday life, however, offers many opportunities for physical activity.

By their trades, some are less affected by the lack of exercise such as masons, carpenters, etc. However, more and more people are working in offices all day and do not have the opportunity to travel.

Physical activity can then take place during the trip to his place of work, to go to do commissions or to take or pick up his children to school.

Finally, leisure activities offer many opportunities to exercise a little sport. However, outdoor recreation tends to be diminished to gradually give way to domestic activities related to new technologies in particular.

The main causes of the emergence of sedentary lifestyles in the world and its consequences

Inactivity has seen two main causes develop over time. The first is the emergence of the use of television, video games, computers, etc. Children, adults and the elderly alike are affected by this massive use of new technologies. Locked inside entertaining in front of a screen greatly reduces the time spent on physical outdoor activities.

The second cause of the rise of sedentary lifestyles is new means of consumption. You can now shop directly on the Internet and have your home delivered. The growth of e-commerce and home delivery subconsciously deters physical travel and thus consolidates sedentary lifestyles.

This lack of activity is responsible for the increased risk of mortality but also leads to the proliferation of noncommunicable diseases (NTDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or breast and colon cancers (3).

On the contrary, regular physical activity reduces the risk of high blood pressure and depression and improves bone and functional health (3). In order to address this public health problem, some startups want to encourage people to engage in physical activity through a mobile app.

WeWard, the app that turns your steps into digital currency

Launched in 2019, the WeWard mobile app fights sedentary lifestyles by promoting a regular daily walk.

The principle of the application is very simple: every step taken using WeWard is counted by the application through the location of your phone. Each step counted is then rewarded by Wards which constitute a digital currency. These Wards are redeemable for euros, products, services or gift cards. In addition to enabling users to discover new neighbourhoods in their city and promote their cultural development, WeWard encourages users to get closer to the daily steps recommended by WHO.

Indeed, many good addresses (weWard partners) are listed in the application. Once visited or consumed, users receive additional Wards. In addition, the application program goals in order to give users an extra reason to surpass themselves day after day.

This application categorized in the “lifestyle” section of the Apple Store is a first step towards intelligent use of digital. Instead of promoting the confinement that new technologies generally bring to humans, this application has found the perfect balance between digital and health.

Take time for movement

Sedentary living has now become a global issue. In addition, this health problem is affecting more and more early. According to the WHO, in 2008, 31% of people aged 15 and over lacked physical activity, including 28% of men and 34% of women (1). The majority of pedometer applications aimed to reward their users by telling them the number of calories burned and thus cause a sense of pride in individuals. The new generation of this kind of mobile applications has redesigned its rewards system. A small step for digital, a big step for humanity?…


  1. Inactivity: a WHO global public health problem
  2. Sport, health, physical activity, physical inactivity: what are we talking about? 2015 study by Professor Martine DUCLOS
  3. WHO physical activity
More Stories
MissRetroChic awarded “Formidable hope of e-commerce”