Fitness game apps rarely motivate people to exercise

ANI| Last Updated: Aug 22, 2014, 19:51 PM IST
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Washington: A new study has revealed about the popular trend of using fitness game apps to motivate people to exercise.

According to the lead author, Cameron Lister of Brigham Young University, it was just assumed that gamified apps would work, but there had been no research to show that they were effective for people in long-term.

The researchers analyzed more than 2,000 health and fitness apps and found that the majority of the most popular and widely used apps feature gamification.

After using 132 of the apps, like 'Zombies, Run!', 'Pact', 'Fitbit' and 'Dietbet' personally to see how well they worked, the researchers were concerned that gamification was ignoring key elements of behavior change.

They found that this could be de-motivating in the long run, for example, over time people can view the rewards and badges on these apps as work instead of play and once the rewards disappear, the motivation drops.

Josh West, co-author said that motivation was important, but people also needed to develop skills that made behavior change easy to do.

Lister said that it was like people assuming that they hate health and taking care of their body so they offer to give them some stuff in order to make them do what they want them to do.

The study is published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.