Do your motivational messages incorporate the latest evidence-based practices on how to support behavioral change in your more sedentary clients? New recommendations based on behavioral science findings adopt a fresh approach.

The World Health Organization’s draft 2020 guidelines removed the 10-minute minimum requirement for bouts of aerobic activity to benefit health. Current guidelines state that “some physical activity is better than none . . . doing some physical activity will bring benefits to health . . . start with small amounts of physical activity and gradually increase duration, frequency and intensity over time.”

What might that look like in your social media and advertising messages? Consider using phrases such as “Everything counts,” “Move your way,” “This girl can” or “What’s your activity?” These examples support autonomy, competence and relatedness. Meeting these three psychological needs—to have a sense of choice, to achieve success with one’s behavior and to be respected by others—facilitates motivation and supports both short- and long-term behavior change, according to research. These messages are easy to understand, remember and put into practice.

To read the commentary on creating more strategic messaging, see The International Journal on Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (2020; 17 [1], 135).

See also: Any Kind of Physical Activity Reduces Mortality Rates