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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

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features

Wellness: Inspiring enthusiasm

Immediate rewards can motivate people to exercise more, according to new research, reports Kath Hudson

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 5
Rewards promoted greater adherence to exercise, reducing cardiovascular risk / photo: Shutterstock/PeopleImages.com - Yuri A
Rewards promoted greater adherence to exercise, reducing cardiovascular risk / photo: Shutterstock/PeopleImages.com - Yuri A

Short-term incentives to exercise, such as using daily reminders, rewards or games, can lead to sustained increases in activity, according to new insight.

Researchers found that even a simple daily reminder encouraged people to move more, while offering financial incentives or point-based rewards was even more effective. Combining the two was the most powerful and led to participants logging improvements in activity levels six months after the rewards stopped, suggesting the intervention helped to form habits.

Supported by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study took place between 2019 and 2024 and was published in the journal Circulation. More than 1,000 adults, with an average age of 67, who were at elevated risk for major cardiovascular events were monitored via fitness trackers. Their daily step count increased by more than 1,500 a day after a year on the programme and they did an extra 40 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

This is sufficient for a 6 per cent reduced risk of premature death and a 10 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular-related deaths.

“Even moderate exercise can drastically reduce cardiovascular risk, so finding low-cost ways to get people moving that they also can do at home if needed is a huge win for public health,” said Alison Brown, a programme officer at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which is part of NIH.

The research protocol
Participants set goals to increase their daily steps by 33 per cent, 40 per cent, 50 per cent, or any amount greater than 1,500 steps from their starting point and were divided into four groups. Three groups were offered incentives, including game-like rewards, financial rewards, or a combination of the two.

In the game group, participants received points for meeting their daily step goals and could move up a level. Those who missed their targets lost points and moved down a level.


At the end of the study, adults who reached the highest levels by meeting their daily step goals received trophies.

In the financial group, each participant received US$14 each week, but lost US$2 a day if they did not meet their step targets. The third group received game and financial incentives.

The fourth group – a control group – received no incentives but got the fitness tracker, along with daily messages that noted their step count.

Participants could also enlist a support crew, such as family or friends, who received weekly updates about their progress.

Each intervention lasted 12 months followed by a six-month follow-up period where all participants received the daily messages.

Before and after
Prior to the study, all participants logged an average of around 5,000 daily steps, or 2.4 miles. After 12 months, they increased their daily step count – as previously explained – by more than 1,500, or three-quarters of a mile.

Compared to the control group, the game group walked an extra 538 steps from their baseline amount, while those who received financial incentives walked an extra 492. The group who received both of these incentives averaged 868 extra steps and maintained an average 576 more daily steps six months later.

Study author, Alexander Fanaroff, said: “This research shows it’s easier to think about today than the future – whether it’s exercising more to support long-term heart health or saving for a future goal, such as college or retirement.”

Researchers advise helping people change their behaviours by giving instant rewards, including using exercise apps with daily reminders, enlisting family and friends for support and even creating scenarios where they give money away if they don’t meet their targets.

• The research: Effect of gamification, financial incentives, or both to increase physical activity among patients at high risk of cardiovascular events: The Be Active randomised controlled trial.

More: www.hcmmag.com/motivate

"This research shows it’s easier to think about today than the future" – Alexander Fanaroff, Study author

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/402542_671431.jpg
Offering people rewards can help motivate them to exercise more, according to new research, as Kath Hudson reports
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features

Wellness: Inspiring enthusiasm

Immediate rewards can motivate people to exercise more, according to new research, reports Kath Hudson

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 5
Rewards promoted greater adherence to exercise, reducing cardiovascular risk / photo: Shutterstock/PeopleImages.com - Yuri A
Rewards promoted greater adherence to exercise, reducing cardiovascular risk / photo: Shutterstock/PeopleImages.com - Yuri A

Short-term incentives to exercise, such as using daily reminders, rewards or games, can lead to sustained increases in activity, according to new insight.

Researchers found that even a simple daily reminder encouraged people to move more, while offering financial incentives or point-based rewards was even more effective. Combining the two was the most powerful and led to participants logging improvements in activity levels six months after the rewards stopped, suggesting the intervention helped to form habits.

Supported by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study took place between 2019 and 2024 and was published in the journal Circulation. More than 1,000 adults, with an average age of 67, who were at elevated risk for major cardiovascular events were monitored via fitness trackers. Their daily step count increased by more than 1,500 a day after a year on the programme and they did an extra 40 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

This is sufficient for a 6 per cent reduced risk of premature death and a 10 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular-related deaths.

“Even moderate exercise can drastically reduce cardiovascular risk, so finding low-cost ways to get people moving that they also can do at home if needed is a huge win for public health,” said Alison Brown, a programme officer at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which is part of NIH.

The research protocol
Participants set goals to increase their daily steps by 33 per cent, 40 per cent, 50 per cent, or any amount greater than 1,500 steps from their starting point and were divided into four groups. Three groups were offered incentives, including game-like rewards, financial rewards, or a combination of the two.

In the game group, participants received points for meeting their daily step goals and could move up a level. Those who missed their targets lost points and moved down a level.


At the end of the study, adults who reached the highest levels by meeting their daily step goals received trophies.

In the financial group, each participant received US$14 each week, but lost US$2 a day if they did not meet their step targets. The third group received game and financial incentives.

The fourth group – a control group – received no incentives but got the fitness tracker, along with daily messages that noted their step count.

Participants could also enlist a support crew, such as family or friends, who received weekly updates about their progress.

Each intervention lasted 12 months followed by a six-month follow-up period where all participants received the daily messages.

Before and after
Prior to the study, all participants logged an average of around 5,000 daily steps, or 2.4 miles. After 12 months, they increased their daily step count – as previously explained – by more than 1,500, or three-quarters of a mile.

Compared to the control group, the game group walked an extra 538 steps from their baseline amount, while those who received financial incentives walked an extra 492. The group who received both of these incentives averaged 868 extra steps and maintained an average 576 more daily steps six months later.

Study author, Alexander Fanaroff, said: “This research shows it’s easier to think about today than the future – whether it’s exercising more to support long-term heart health or saving for a future goal, such as college or retirement.”

Researchers advise helping people change their behaviours by giving instant rewards, including using exercise apps with daily reminders, enlisting family and friends for support and even creating scenarios where they give money away if they don’t meet their targets.

• The research: Effect of gamification, financial incentives, or both to increase physical activity among patients at high risk of cardiovascular events: The Be Active randomised controlled trial.

More: www.hcmmag.com/motivate

"This research shows it’s easier to think about today than the future" – Alexander Fanaroff, Study author

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/402542_671431.jpg
Offering people rewards can help motivate them to exercise more, according to new research, as Kath Hudson reports
Latest News
Belgian retail giant, Colruyt Group, is challenging the status quo of the fitness industry in ...
Latest News
According to a year-long study, offering financial incentives to people to encourage them to lose ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has appointed sales and franchise expert, Mark King, as CEO, to take the ...
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Fitness influencer and karate champion, Anna Lewandowska, has announced the launch of a multi-concept boutique ...
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The Health & Fitness Association (formerly IHRSA) has announced Singapore-based attorney and international industry advocate, ...
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With the UK General Election imminent, industry strategist, Martyn Allison, says it’s time for the ...
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Featured supplier news: Explosion of passion for fitness at RiminiWellness 2024 and record success for Panatta
The passion for fitness and bodybuilding reached new heights at the Panatta stands during RiminiWellness (30 May – 2 June 20204) – the largest fitness event in Italy – which this year exceeded the 100,000 visitor mark.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: CoverMe Fitness launches in Australian market
CoverMe Fitness, the studio management app for the fitness industry, has launched in Australia, with industry veteran Tony Zonato as managing director for the region.
Company profiles
Company profile: Perfect Gym Solutions S.A.
Perfect Gym, part of the Sport Alliance group, is a global software provider specialising in ...
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Company profile: TVS Group
The TVS Group supply and install sports and fitness flooring to a wide range of ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Safe Space: Delivering the vision
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Zoom Media press release: Zoom Media UK partners with Your Personal Training to expand rewards platform to PT clients
Zoom Media UK, the leading provider of digital media solutions for fitness facilities, is announcing an exciting new partnership with Your Personal Training (YPT), the UK’s foremost Personal Training brand. This collaboration marks the first time Zoom’s rewards platform will be directly available to the clients of YPT trainers, offering unique incentives to enhance client engagement and retention.
Featured press releases
ABC Trainerize press release: How RockBox Fitness is energizing members with fitness challenges powered by ABC Trainerize
RockBox Fitness, a leading franchise known for its dynamic boxing-based fitness classes, has revolutionized member engagement with a new partnership with ABC Fitness and the implementation of ABC Trainerize throughout its franchise network.
Directory
Lockers
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Property & Tenders
Cleveland Lakes, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire
Cotswold Lakes Trust
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Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
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Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
08-10 Sep 2024
Wyndham® Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs™ Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
20-22 Sep 2024
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
09-13 Oct 2024
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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