The best exercise motivation might be hard cash

The best exercise motivation might be hard cash

Money talks.

And sometimes it tells us to take a walk.

A team of University of Pennsylvania researchers wanted to study the best ways to motivate people to walk more.

Their yearlong study involved 1,062 participants, age 67 on average, who had a higher-than-average risk for cardiovascular disease. The study participants already were becoming more active and were averaging about 2.4 miles, or 5,000 steps, a day.

The exercisers were separated into four groups. Everyone got a wearable step-tracking device.

The first group received daily messages about their step counts. The second group was set up like a game, with points lost or won based on meeting step goals. Trophies awaited those who walked most.

A third group was given financial incentives to walk, with $14 a week for meeting daily step goals but losing $2 if they fell short.

And the fourth group could participate in the game approach and earn the financial incentives.

Perhaps little surprise, but the group that could earn money and win prizes increased their step counts the most. They added about 40 minutes of moderate exercise to their weekly routine and stuck with their increased activity for at least six months after the study.

The researchers said those activity improvements would translate to a 10% decline in risk for a cardiovascular-related death.

So if you’re in need of motivation, maybe try one of several gamified exercise apps, which offer gift cards for coffee or other prizes for achieved goals. Some apps feel like an interactive game, with the user unlocking new game levels by meeting fitness challenges.

So gets your shoes on, it’s game time.

Related Episodes