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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Insight: Fear of death is greatest motivator to exercise

Which messaging is most effective at inspiring people to get active and why? Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada set out to find out, as Tom Walker reports

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 10
People need help making the link between obesity and their own mortality / photo: HQuality/shutterstock
People need help making the link between obesity and their own mortality / photo: HQuality/shutterstock

Fitness apps that emphasise death-related messaging are more effective in getting people physically active, according to new research.

The finding comes from a study that looked at five types of messaging used to get people to exercise at home.

In order to uncover the effectiveness of the messaging, participants were asked to indicate how persuasive each was in terms of motivating them to work out. Researchers also examined the connection between the messaging and social-cognitive beliefs such as self-regulation (goal setting), self-efficacy and outcome expectation. They also investigated the role played by gender.

Results showed that apps and platforms which highlighted the dangers of inactivity to health – including early death – were much more effective motivators when compared to those that focused on social stigma, obesity, or financial cost.

Unexpected results
The results were unexpected, as previous studies on the effectiveness of messaging that aims to change human behaviour – especially on smoking cessation and risky sexual behaviour – actually found the opposite: that messages related to mortality could actually be a barrier to acknowledging health risks.

The study, authored by Kiemute Oyibo from the School of Public Health Sciences at University of Waterloo, Canada – found this to be entirely different for fitness.

“I didn’t expect only illness- and death-related messages to be so significant and motivational,” Oyibo said.

“And not only were illness- and death-related messages motivational, they also had a significant relationship with self-regulatory belief and outcome expectation, and there was also no significant difference between the sexes.”

Conceptual leap
Oyibo said he had expected obesity-related messages – such as “one-in-four Canadians has clinical obesity” – to be motivational and have a significant relationship with self-regulatory belief, given that obesity is one of the leading causes of mortality globally, but people studied were not able to make the conceptual leap between obesity being a cause of mortality and their own death and needed to have this pointed out to them in more direct terms.

“This study is important because it helps fitness professionals – and especially designers of health apps – understand the types of messages that individuals, regardless of gender, are likely to be motivated by in persuasive health communication and that are likely to influence individuals’ social-cognitive beliefs about exercise,” Oyibo said.

He said future studies should consider other demographic characteristics besides gender, such as age, culture, race and education, to uncover the role they play in persuasive health communication.

The study, called The Relationship between Perceived Health Message Motivation and Social Cognitive Beliefs in Persuasive Health Communication was published in the journal MDPI.

• To read the study in full, go to www.HCMmag.com/messagemotivation

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/14205_883056.jpg
Researchers in Canada have found that fear of death is the greatest motivator to exercise
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features

Insight: Fear of death is greatest motivator to exercise

Which messaging is most effective at inspiring people to get active and why? Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada set out to find out, as Tom Walker reports

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 10
People need help making the link between obesity and their own mortality / photo: HQuality/shutterstock
People need help making the link between obesity and their own mortality / photo: HQuality/shutterstock

Fitness apps that emphasise death-related messaging are more effective in getting people physically active, according to new research.

The finding comes from a study that looked at five types of messaging used to get people to exercise at home.

In order to uncover the effectiveness of the messaging, participants were asked to indicate how persuasive each was in terms of motivating them to work out. Researchers also examined the connection between the messaging and social-cognitive beliefs such as self-regulation (goal setting), self-efficacy and outcome expectation. They also investigated the role played by gender.

Results showed that apps and platforms which highlighted the dangers of inactivity to health – including early death – were much more effective motivators when compared to those that focused on social stigma, obesity, or financial cost.

Unexpected results
The results were unexpected, as previous studies on the effectiveness of messaging that aims to change human behaviour – especially on smoking cessation and risky sexual behaviour – actually found the opposite: that messages related to mortality could actually be a barrier to acknowledging health risks.

The study, authored by Kiemute Oyibo from the School of Public Health Sciences at University of Waterloo, Canada – found this to be entirely different for fitness.

“I didn’t expect only illness- and death-related messages to be so significant and motivational,” Oyibo said.

“And not only were illness- and death-related messages motivational, they also had a significant relationship with self-regulatory belief and outcome expectation, and there was also no significant difference between the sexes.”

Conceptual leap
Oyibo said he had expected obesity-related messages – such as “one-in-four Canadians has clinical obesity” – to be motivational and have a significant relationship with self-regulatory belief, given that obesity is one of the leading causes of mortality globally, but people studied were not able to make the conceptual leap between obesity being a cause of mortality and their own death and needed to have this pointed out to them in more direct terms.

“This study is important because it helps fitness professionals – and especially designers of health apps – understand the types of messages that individuals, regardless of gender, are likely to be motivated by in persuasive health communication and that are likely to influence individuals’ social-cognitive beliefs about exercise,” Oyibo said.

He said future studies should consider other demographic characteristics besides gender, such as age, culture, race and education, to uncover the role they play in persuasive health communication.

The study, called The Relationship between Perceived Health Message Motivation and Social Cognitive Beliefs in Persuasive Health Communication was published in the journal MDPI.

• To read the study in full, go to www.HCMmag.com/messagemotivation

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/14205_883056.jpg
Researchers in Canada have found that fear of death is the greatest motivator to exercise
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At-home fitness brand NordicTrack from iFIT has launched what it says are the first voice-controlled, ...
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The Workforce State of Mind Survey, now in its second year, has begun to gather ...
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Wellness operator and fit tech company, LIT Method, (low-intensity training) is ramping up expansion after ...
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Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Sport Alliance GmbH
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Company profile: YOUR Personal Training
YOUR Personal Training is the UK’s largest and most successful PT Management company, offering a ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness offers the commercial health and fitness club marketplace an unmatched portfolio ...
Supplier Showcases
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Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
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Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
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Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
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Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
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Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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