New technology rewards young Scots for taking exercise

A national digital initiative which rewards young Scots for being physically active has been launched by Scotland’s youth citizenship and information charity, Young Scot. ‘Connect Your Tech’ gives people aged 11 to 26 the opportunity to sync their wearable fitness devices, such as Fitbits, or mobile phone apps to the Young Scot Rewards programme.

Points can be redeemed for rewards such as tickets to top events, work shadowing opportunities and driving lessons. Currently, young people receive points for a 20-minute burst of physical activity or by completing at least 7,000 steps per day. Young Scot plans to develop further challenges and ways to use the technology to encourage physical activity. The project is part of Active Rewards and the programme has been supported by the Scottish Government through the Commonwealth Games Legacy fund. ‘Connect Your Tech’ will be promoted through local authorities and the sportscotland Active Schools Network.

Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell: “Having an active lifestyle has a positive impact on physical and mental health, so it’s exciting to see Young Scot using innovative technology to help young people to be more active, more often, backed by Legacy 2014 funding. We want to encourage a behaviour change across Scotland and get people of all ages and abilities to get more active and we are working to provide the opportunities that will lead to that.”

Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot, added: “Being active doesn’t just mean sport – it could be everyday activities like walking to school or college, and dancing along to your favourite music. This is a great example of technology being used to tackle a wider issue. This is just the start for the ‘Connect Your Tech’, and it will be further refined and developed. It’s an exciting time ahead.”

The system works with a wide variety of devices and most smart phone applications to reward all types of physical activity including walking, dancing, swimming, cycling, running and a huge range of activities. Users need to be part of the Young Scot Rewards programme, a free service for all Young Scot card holders. There are currently over 80,000 young people signed up to the Young Scot Rewards programme.