Turning exercise into a game can motivate you to stay active: Study

0
31

Researchers have found that turning everyday exercise into a game is a good way to motivate people to get up and work out more.
The study was conducted at the University of Iowa. To that end, UI faculty and students designed a web-based game that can be played by anyone with a smartphone and a Fitbit.
“We essentially found that people who received the game right out of the gates increased their steps by about 2,200 per day, which is close to walking one mile.Statistically, that’s significant. It’s also clinically significant,” Lucas Carr said.
The game, called MapTrek, was designed by the Computational Epidemiology Research (CompEpi) Group, a collaborative group of students and faculty in the UI computer science, internal medicine, and HHP departments, Polgreen said.Polgreen said his research involves developing new approaches to monitor diseases. Recently, that research extended to designing interventions. MapTrek is an example of such an intervention.
“Our results suggested that goal-setting alone was not enough,” Polgreen said. “So, we decided to design a game with challenges and to make the game social: the result is MapTrek.”
During the 10-week study, the researchers found that the Fitbit and MapTrek group walked 2,092 more steps per day and completed 11 more active minutes per day compared with the Fitbit-only group. Active minutes are defined as those in which the participant took more than 100 steps.
“If a person can maintain a daily 2,000-step increase, that could result in a clinically significant improvement in their overall health,” Carr said. “It’s associated with about a 10 percent relative reduction in long-term incidence of cardiovascular disease.”
Ultimately, the Fitbit and MapTrek group did not maintain the spike in overall activity throughout the 10-week study. Though the Fitbit and MapTrek users regressed, they were still averaging more steps than the Fitbit-only group by the end of the study. Ultimately, the MapTrek group returned to their pre-study fitness levels, Carr said.
“Over 10 weeks, the gains in activity declined and the two groups looked similar by the end of the study,” Polgreen said. “But, we are encouraged by the big initial increase in daily steps and are now looking to improve the game in ways that result in longer changes in behavior.”
“The value of this kind of approach is virtually anyone can play it with minimal risk,” Carr said. “Nearly everyone can benefit from increased levels of activity.”
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here