Peer To Peer Support Improves Commitment To Fitness If you’re one of those folk who struggle to find the motivation to go to gym or even go for a walk to get exercise, you are certainly not alone. However, all is not lost though, because a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania has revealed that online fitness social network systems can be extremely powerful motivators in helping you to add more physical activity to your daily routine . A Co-Authored Study Effort An associate professor from the Annenberg School for Communication, Damon Centola, co-authored the study with Ph.D. students Devon Brackbill, Sijia Yang and Jingwen Zhang. The team performed a randomized controlled trial to find out which types of social media (peer networks or regular promotional messaging systems) were going to be the more effective option when it came to increasing activity levels in various types of exercise classes. Centola stated that the aim of the study was to fully understand what could make a difference. Participants Divided into Groups A website was created by the team, which was used to help recruit 217 Penn grad students enroll in a free 13-week wellness community exercise program and the students were separated into three groups. One group was set up as the control group, which received no follow-up interventions whatsoever. The second group of candidates was encouraged to attend and participate in exercise classes by means of social networking promotional messages, infographics, video clips, and health social network fitness tips – all of which noted how important it is to maintain an active lifestyle. Although the third group of participants didn’t receive any fitness social network messaging, they were assigned to an online network consisting of six anonymous health social network buddies from the program. Regular online wellness community updates were sent to participants detailing the health-related activities that their peers were engaging in or signing up for, such as dance classes or yoga sessions. Members of the group were also able to monitor when other participants signed up for exercise classes by means of using the study’s website. Only Positive Updates Shared As a means of encouraging the study participants to get more exercise, they only received live web updates about positive exercise behavior exhibited by their peers. This system was developed through Centola’s earlier research on the overall dynamics of group behavior. For example, if a participant had to skip a class for any reason, no online notification was sent out. Study Findings Clear The overall study findings were extremely clear in that they revealed that social influence from online peers – even though anonymous – is far more successful than any promotional message when it comes to getting people to get more exercise. Social media influence is a far more powerful tool than any promotional message when it comes to getting people to get more exercise. Group 2 – who had exercise buddies – worked out 1.6 days a week more than the rest, which was almost twice as much as the other groups. Centola stated in this regard, “The study shows that online peers are not only more influential for getting people to become active, but they are also surprisingly effective at keeping them coming back for more.” So there you have it – if you struggle to find motivation to exercise, find yourself a fitness social network buddy to become accountable to. About the Author: David Quenneville FHMatch, all-in-one `Business in a Box! If you're a professional this is for you, it’s always FREE to showcase your profile on FHMatch ! Empowering professionals to engage, manage and grow their client base - everything you need to get started in 3 min or less. |Merchant Payments| Unlimited - No Fee Booking, Invoicing & Messaging| Showcase Photos & Videos, Subsidized Insurance| Twitter , Facebook , Instagram , Pinterest , LinkedIn