Tim Cook has tweeted a reminder that the Apple Watch Heart Month challenge starts today. The challenge is to close your exercise ring for seven days in a row, starting today …

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We first learned at the end of last month that Apple would be re-running the event this year, with those who succeed being rewarded with a special Activity award as well as stickers.

The annual February Activity Challenge unlocks a special award in the Activity app on the iPhone. Participants also unlock custom animating stickers that can be shared virtually with the Messages app or on FaceTime. This year’s sticker set includes a friendly running version of the green Exercise ring, for example.

If February 8 seems a rather arbitrary start-date, that’s because it ends on February 14 – Valentine’s day. The heart thing.

Heart Month is designed to raise awareness of heart disease, and the impact that regular exercise can have in reducing the risks.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends exercising at least three times a week for a minimum of 150 minutes in total. Another guideline is to aim for 25 minutes of vigorous exercise per day (for example, running) or 50 minutes of moderate exercise (such as a brisk-paced walk).

For those who find the time requirement challenging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the same total time divided into smaller chunks (for example, five minutes of vigorous exercise five times a day) delivers the same benefits.

In addition to reducing the risk of developing heart disease, regular exercise has been shown to result in lower incidences of depression, weight gain, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Those with a history of cardiovascular disease, and other chronic health conditions, are advised to consult their doctor before taking up a new exercise regime. In most cases, they will be able to recommend forms of exercise that deliver the health benefits without impacting your pre-existing medical condition.

Will you be participating in the Apple Watch Heart Month challenge? Let us know your plans in the comments.

Photo: Shutterstock


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