Digital nudges encourage more exercise

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Text messages, app alerts, and emails — so-called “digital nudges” — are effective at nudging us to do something, even exercise. New University of Minnesota research shows that these activities, used in corporate wellness programs, help increase physical activity among participants.

Most large employers offer wellness programs encourage a healthy, active lifestyle among its employees. However, these programs often face low participation rates. Carlson School of Management professors Sean Curley and De Liu, two of the study’s co-authors, say nudges can be a powerful tool to change that. But until now, there has been little evidence of how effective the nudges might be in the long term.

“The problem with exercise is that there’s a lot of upfront costs, like putting in the time to go to the gym, but the benefits, like weight loss, are long-term,” Liu said. “A to push can help keep people motivated.”

For the study to be in Journal of the Information Systems Associationresearchers analyzed how shocks affect reports physical activity in the Midwest Corporate Wellness Program. To encourage participation, the program offered weekly cash incentives and used two types of digital nudges: personalized motivational text messages and “endorsements,” a form of easy social support similar to Facebook likes. After reviewing nearly four years of data, the researchers determined:

  • Both motivational messages and “thanks” led to increased self-reported exercise.
  • The most effective motivational messages were among users with low physical activity.
  • The influence of motivational messages increased over time.
  • The effect of “respect” did not last long.

“From the moment financial reward has always been in place throughout the program, the results show us that the benefits of nudges go beyond monetary incentives,” Curley said. increase participation’.

Because different types of nudges resonate with different users, the study suggests developing engagement strategies based on engagement levels. An example would be sending motivational text messages to those who are planning to start physical exercises routine It should be noted that the study found that motivational messages require repetition, as users did not always respond initially, but did so after more exposure.

According to Research and Markets, the global corporate wellness market is a booming industry that will reach $90.4 billion by 2026. As growth continues, researchers say the key will be to stay connected with users.

“Seeing how these nudges affect behavior creates opportunities for innovation,” Liu explained. “For example, the ‘praise’ effect has led to diminishing returns, so the trick will be to find new ways to inject buzz into the platform to keep users engaged and engaged.”


Using nudges to change behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic


Additional information:
Babar, Yash et al., The Effects of Digital Nudges in a Corporate Wellness Program, Journal of the Information Systems Association (2022). DOI: 10.17705/1jais.00783

Citation: Digital Nudges Encourage More Exercise (2022, October 25) Retrieved October 25, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-digital-nudges.html

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