Are you already communicating with clients via cell phone or e-mail? If not, you might want to start. Numerous studies have shown that social support and individualized feedback are powerful tools for helping people make and keep healthy habits. Recent research presented at the American College of Sport Medicine’s 55th Annual Meeting—held in Indianapolis in May—highlighted the value of e-mail messages for improving attitude, intention and exercise behavior in inactive young adults.
Matthew Parrott, PhD, based at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, recruited 220 inactive men and women with an average age of approximately 20 years and divided them into two groups. Both groups received e-mail messages every other day for 2 weeks: one group received positively worded messages; the second group received the same types of messages combined with images. Attitudes about physical activity as well as intentions vis-à-vis exercise improved in all participants, and all were more active during the study than they had been before the intervention. Improvements were more pronounced in the subjects who received images as well as positive messages.