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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

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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
Latest News
New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq ...
Latest News
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has released a children’s book called Can We ...
Latest News
The new £42m Moorways Sports Village will open its doors to the public on Saturday ...
Latest News
Fitness industry veteran Harm Tegelaars has returned to the fitness industry by joining the board ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness saw its Q1 2022 revenue increase by 66.9 per cent (to US$186.7m) on ...
Latest News
Sport England and UK Active have signed a five-year partnership agreement which will see the ...
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Planet Fitness is offering high-school students free access to any of its 2,200 locations in ...
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Featured operator news
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Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
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Mindbody, Inc
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Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Company profiles
Company profile: Crown Sports Lockers
Crown Sports Lockers has designed, crafted and fitted bespoke timber furniture for spas, hotels and ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Matrix provides innovative commercial fitness equipment to facilities in all market sectors including private health ...
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
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SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
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A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
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Carmarthenshire County Council
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Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
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Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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