Monday, June 7, 2010

Work Out With A Little Help From Your Friends

In the Participation Economy, we’re all connected. Our days are centered around social media, email, text messages, Blackberries, iPhones and e-Readers. Facebook and LinkedIn have become such a big part of our lives that they’re almost irreplaceable. We’re so interconnected, that even the smallest decisions are made by a collective We, rather than the individual.

Want to go to a new restaurant? There’s a thousand reviews on Yelp that can tell you where to go. Thinking about a new haircut? Post a status update on your Facebook about it and watch the advice come barreling in. With all this interaction, it wasn’t much of a surprise to read a recent Wall Street Journal article – The Power of a Gentle Nudge.

The story focuses on a Stanford University study on the impact of social support from friends on exercise routines. And it’s a great idea! Why not use all this interconnectivity to keep yourself (and your friends) motivated? We all know the story; a New Year’s resolution or a less-than great trip to the doctor inspires a new work out regimen. A brisk run every day, drink more water, eat less junk, sleep more, drink less. You’re starting on the path to the new and healthier YOU.

Unfortunately, we also know how the scenario ends. You miss a run because you’re late to work or you’re stuck in a meeting or maybe you have to pick up the kids from school. Tomorrow is Friday, so you think – “well, I’ll just take the rest of the week off . . . I’ve earned it.” Monday rolls around and you’re exhausted from the start of the work week . . . and on and on and on.

According to the Stanford Study, “Only 48% of Americans say they meet the federal recommendation for exercising half an hour most days of the week, and the actual percentage is believed to be much lower.”

That’s right, not even half of us are meeting the bare minimum of exercise recommended. It’s no wonder obesity is such an issue in America! Sure, fast food is a big culprit . . . but getting out and walking 30 minutes a day could be a huge help. The good news is that a little social nudging can go a long way.
After 12 months, participants receiving calls from a live person
were exercising, as a mean, about 178 minutes a week, above government recommendations for 150 minutes . . . Exercise levels for the group receiving computerized calls doubled to 157 minutes a week. A control group of participants, who received no phone calls, exercised 118 minutes a week, up 28% from the study’s start.
Even better, other recent studies have found that once the average person sticks to an exercise routine for eight weeks, they can settle into a long-term habit of working out. The next time you’re inspired to slip on your trainers, make sure you tell your Facebook friends to nudge you along the way.


Fran Clayton said...

And check out, a site that let's you take out a commitment contract on your goals. Founded by a Yale professor, the idea is that you're much more likely to reach your goals if you put your reputation or some money on the line.

Media Mentions said...

Speaking of working out, here's a neat little tidbit I came across today:

I think you'd find this informative too.