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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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15-16 Jun 2022
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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
The Workforce State of Mind Survey, now in its second year, has begun to gather ...
Latest News
Wellness operator and fit tech company, LIT Method, (low-intensity training) is ramping up expansion after ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness has signed an agreement to acquire Sunshine Fitness – an operator of 114 ...
Latest News
People living in London have been advised to avoid or reduce strenuous exercise today (Friday ...
Latest News
A marketing partnership between fitness marketplace Hussle and fast-food giant McDonald's resulted in a significant ...
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The UK government should encourage – and make it easier – for doctors and other ...
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Mark Sesnan, co-founder and CEO of GLL, has been awarded an OBE in the New ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Quoox lowers the barrier-to-entry for its flagship CRM system
Known for its innovation and for providing one of the most comprehensive gym and fitness facility software management products on the market, Quoox is causing a stir with its new pricing model.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Double Olympic Champion Rebecca Adlington breaks ground ahead of new Rainham Leisure Centre
Everyone Active has got the New Year off to a flying start as it begins work on the brand new Rainham Leisure Centre.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Innovative experience TAGactive launched at Everyone Active
Everyone Active opened its first TAGactive Arena at Lammas Leisure Centre on Bank Holiday Monday, January 3.
Video Gallery
Les Mills
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Sport Alliance GmbH
Company profiles
Company profile: Pulse Fitness
With an award-winning portfolio of over 450 pieces of cutting-edge, premium fitness equipment, Pulse Fitness ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Technogym UK Ltd
Technogym offers a complete ecosystem of connected smart equipment, digital services, on-demand training experiences and ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Tanita: Engaging insights
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
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Property & Tenders
Bilborough, Nottingham
Bilborough College
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
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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