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Add Competition to Boost Benefits of Wearables

Fun competition increases physical activity.

Physical Activity and Competition

If you use wearables with clients, consider adding competitive challenges to improve results. University of Pennsylvania and Deloitte Consulting LLP researchers found that simply giving wearables to people in the workplace did not increase physical activity; the key was to add fun and competition.

“We found that a behaviorally designed gamification program led to significant increases in physical activity compared to a control group that used wearable devices alone,” said lead study author Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, assistant professor of Medicine and Health Care Management. “During the 9-month trial, the average person in the competition arm walked about 100 miles more than the average person in the control.”

Find the study in JAMA Internal Medicine (2019; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3505).

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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