Fear of death and illness, the best motivation for exercise

The professionals of fitness can use the results of a new study as a persuasive technique to motivate people with fear of illness and death

According to a study by the University of WaterlooIn Canada, fear of illness and death are the best motivators for people to exercise.

The survey consisted of 669 people having to rate five messages from one to seven, one of which did not motivate them and seven which most motivated them to start exercising.

the author, the doctor Kiemu Oyibo, states that “this study is important because it helps us understand the types of messages by which people, regardless of their gender, are motivated by persuasive health communication and that can influence their socio-cognitive behavior and their beliefs about exercise” .

If you don’t have time for exercise, you will have time for illness

The study’s messages were divided into five different categories: financial, obesity, death, illness and social stigma. Those of illness and death had the highest results.

  • Illness: the phrase by British statesman and Earl of Derby, Edward Stanley, was what the researchers chose for the message in the illness category: “Those who think they don’t have time to exercise, sooner or later will have time for illness”. His score was 4.8.
  • Death: for this category they used data from the World Health Organization: “6% of deaths in the world are due to physical inactivity” and had an average of 4.69.
  • Financial: Respondents reported that not being physically active costs Canadian taxpayers $6.8 billion a year. It reached an average of 3.7.
  • Obesity: It has been mentioned that one in four Canadians has been classified as clinically obese. Here came a score of 3.5.
  • social stigma: A Canadian Obesity Network headline was used: “Stigma against people with obesity is comparable to racial discrimination”, which received the lowest score, 3.48.
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‘The findings provide a foundation for application designers fitness make more use of health messages related to illness and death as a persuasive technique to motivate behavior change,” added Oyibo.

The researcher also suggested that future studies consider other demographic characteristics, such as age, culture, race and education, to explore whether these factors affect the validity of these messages.


Messages related to illness and death are considered significant motivators for exercise

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