What Is Google Fit and How Does It Work?

Google joins with major health organizations to create fitness goals

Google Fit is a fitness tracking app for Android smartphones and Wear by Google smartwatches. It can track walking, running, and cycling automatically, and you can manually track workouts such as strength training, circuit training, boxing, and even curling.

If your wearable has a heart rate monitor, Google Fit also tracks that. In 2018, Google collaborated with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Health Organization to gain an understanding of the science behind physical activity and translate it into fitness goals.

Google Fit's Science-Based Goals

These two goals, called Move Minutes and Heart Points, are based on the AHA's recommendations for activities that can have a positive effect on your overall health. The AHA recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or some combination of both. If you walk briskly for 30 minutes per day, you'll meet the goal.

Google Fit app.

These translate to Move Minutes and Heart Points in the Google Fit app, each of which has a daily goal. Heart Points also have a weekly goal, so if you miss your mark one day, you can make up for it the next.

Move Minutes are precisely that; a tally of your movements throughout the day, whether it's an intensive workout or a short walk. Having a daily goal to meet could encourage you to do things like take the stairs instead of an elevator.

You earn Heart Points by doing moderately intense activities such as briskly walking. For both goals, you get one point for each minute of physical activity. You can earn double Heart Points for running and other more intense actions.

Google Fit's Heart Rate and Respiration Readings

In 2021, Google began rolling out a Google Fit update with new features that can return measurements for heart rate and respiration. These new features work with the front and rear cameras of supported Android devices, such as some Pixel models.

If your device is compatible, measure your heart rate by placing a fingertip on the rear camera. The app analyzes the skin and returns a pulse reading. To get a respiration measurement, put your torso and head in the front camera's view; the app analyzes your chest movements and returns a breaths-per-minute reading.

Make Your Walks Count With Google Fit

Walking is the great equalizer of exercise, helping people stay fit even if they don't have access to a gym or exercise equipment. Google Fit not only has pedometer functions, but it can also help you pick up the pace, literally.

Google Fit's Paced Walking feature adds a subtle audio background beat to whatever music or content you're listening to on your walk or even while running errands or doing chores. The beat helps boost your walking pace, which, over time, has some significant health benefits and can even up the pace of your natural walking cadence.

Add some more intensity to the beat to move faster and vary your speed. After you pick up your pace using Paced Walking, you'll earn additional Google Fit Heart Points.

Tips for Managing Your Google Fit Goals, Data, and More

Your Google Fit profile includes your fitness goals as well as your gender, birthday, weight, and height.

By default, your initial goals are 30 Move Minutes and 10 Heart Points per day, which Google Fit continually adjusts based on your activity. You get alerts about lowering or raising your goals based on how often you meet, exceed, or fall short of them.

You can see your stats on the main screen of the Google Fit app on your smartphone or smartwatch. You can also download a Google Fit watch face so you can see your goal progress every time you check the time.

  1. Tap Profile to view and adjust your personal information and goals.

  2. To adjust your goals, tap the down arrow next to Move Minutes or Heart Points.

  3. Use the plus and minus symbols to adjust the goal. Tap Set Goal to save.

    Google Fit App with Move Minutes and Heart Points adjustments highlighted

Connect Google Fit to Other Apps

You can connect Google Fit with a range of other apps, including Strava, MyFitnessPal, Nike Training Club, and more. There's a section on Google Play of apps that work with Google Fit, so you can see if your favorite one is among them or discover a new one.

To connect an app to Google Fit, open that app, and go to its settings. Look for an option related to connecting other apps. Here's how it works with MyFitnessPal on Android, as an example.

  1. Open the app and tap Me to access your profile.

  2. Tap Settings (gear icon).

  3. Tap My Apps and Devices.

    MyFitnessPal app with "Me," Settings gear, and "My Apps & Devices" highlighted
  4. Tap Google Fit to connect MyFitnessPal to Google Fit. You can see your nutrition data in Google Fit and your activity data in MyFitnessPal.

  5. Tap Connect.

  6. Check the permissions boxes and tap Continue. You're now connected.

    MyFitnessPal app with "Google Fit," "Connect," and "Continue" highlighted

Every app is different. Consult the app's help page or use Google to find the right setting.

View Google Fit Connected Apps

To see connected apps or disconnect an app:

  1. Open the Google Fit app and tap your profile icon.

  2. Tap Settings (gear icon).

  3. Tap Manage connected apps.

    Google Fit app with Profile, Settings, and "Manage Connected Apps" highlighted
  4. You'll see Google Fit apps & devices. To stop sharing data between Google Fit and another app, tap an app name in the list.

  5. Tap Disconnect.

  6. Tap Disconnect to confirm. The app is removed from Google Fit.

    Google Fit settings with "Google Fit apps & devices," Disconnect, and Disconnect highlighted

There are also a handful of notifications you can opt into with Google Fit, including when you complete a goal, goal progress and activity tips, and alerts about new features.

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