Digital fitness nudges can actually help you exercise more

WWhen it comes to work, being told “good job” can be a powerful motivator in even the smallest of ways.

A new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota will be published in an upcoming issue Journal of the Association of Information Systems Looked at the effects of digital “kudos” and “nudges” in a fitness tracking app Kudos were the equivalent of likes, and nudges were personalized motivational messages.

The study followed users of the app for four years and ultimately found that both types of digital high fives led to increased exercise — even more so than cash incentives. Specifically, seeing a compliment will increase weekly activity frequency by five percent.

Interestingly, the effect of kudos decreased over time, with their effectiveness disappearing after about 10 months. However, personalized messages had positive effects for the duration of the study. In fact, those messages were most effective for less active individuals and their influence growth Over time

Although this study used a corporate wellness app, the researchers say its findings could be extended to fitness apps and trackers that the rest of us use because “the praise and messaging features we study on this platform mimic those of other social platforms and are commonly available.” ,” said co-author and professor of information science De Liu. Strava’s Kudos feature is literally called “Kudos,” while on the Apple Watch you can receive rewards or pre-written encouraging messages from friends.

Overall, Liu said the findings show the need for more innovative ways to digitally show support to keep users engaged and motivated over time.

Studies like these help us know if the money and time we’re investing in our digital fitness equipment is really worth it. Although research shows that wearing a pedometer increases the amount of walking people do, the jury is still out on whether fitness trackers help in the long term. This study adds some evidence—with caveats—in favor of digital fitness tools

So the next time you get a trophy, high-five or “great job” notification, don’t roll your eyes so quickly. It may work for you more than you know.

Get the good vibes flowing with this positivity-filled yoga flow.

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