Money gets your exercise routine going as per the findings of a new study featuring in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Simply being aware of the fact that exercise is good for you won’t get you out of the chair and into the gym.
However, financial rewards will. 80 percent of U.S. citizens don’t meet the recommended exercising goals. To make a dent in the status-quo, an increasing number of companies are looking to implement workplace wellness programs. While the idea is welcome, there is one downside. Workplace wellness programs tend to engage people who are already motivated to follow workout programs.
Against this background, 80 percent of U.S. companies are using financial rewards to get their employees to work out more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that a minimum level of physical activity could immensely benefit sedentary employees. Still, even the financial rewards offered by the large employers to keep employees engaged in workplace wellness programs don’t go the whole nine yards.
According to Doctor Mitesh Patel, author of the newly published study and assistant professor of medicine with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Perelman School of Medicine, financial rewards must be offered in a different perspective.
Previous studies found that financial loss is a powerful motivational tool. As such, the research focused on the prospects of financial loss and the effects it may have on weight loss management and the rate of engagement in a rigorous exercising routine.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study results suggest that people are more motivated to achieve the minimum physical activity goals and remain in workplace wellness programs if financial rewards may be lost.
How did Doctor Patel find that money gets your exercise routine going? The research involved 281 participants with above normal BMIs. All participants were asked to meet the same goal: walking 7,000 steps per day over a period of 13 weeks.
However, the incentives differed for each of the three groups the participants were assigned to. The first group was simply informed that they had reached their goal. The second group was informed that they would enter a cash lottery pending their results. A third group earned 1.40 dollars for each day when they took the 7,000 steps.
The last group was awarded 42 dollars per person at the beginning of the study. The participants in this group were announced that for each day they didn’t meet the 7,000 steps goal, 1.40 dollars would be deducted.
The participants in the first three groups only met their daily physical activity goal 30 to 35 percent of the days. The difference between these groups and the group that faced losing money was about 10 to 15 percent. Doctor Patel stated:
“We saw dramatically different results when the same amount of money was framed as a loss as opposed to having it framed as a gain”.
Simply tracking your physical activity levels with the use of widely available apps won’t cut it. Employers could use the newly published study to coerce more people into successfully engaging in workplace wellness programs and maintaining a high attendance rate. Money gets your exercise routine going. Doctor Patel’s research makes it as clear as daylight that financial loss motivates more people than financial gain.
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