According to a new study by Jasmine Peterson, a doctoral candidate at Flinders University, the social components of these applications have the potential to increase physical activity.

Sharing exercise results and progress with app communities and social networking platforms provides the necessary incentive for people to participate enthusiastically with their apps.

Dr. Ivanka Prechard, co-author of the study, from the Flinders University Careing Futures Institute, said:

The study – Psychological Methods Based on the Use of Business Exercise Application and Exercise Engagement, published by Jasmine Petersen, Lucy Lewis, Eva Kemps and Ivanka Prichard Sports and Exercise Psychology. (DOI ፡ 10.1016 / j.psychsport.2020.101719)

The study used about 1,300 adults (88% female, between the ages of 18 and 83), and more than half used commercial exercise apps (eg Fitbit, Garmin, Strava). The results show that more competitive individuals have responded better to the apps because of the game-like incentives and rewards included in the apps.

Dr. Prechard says this suggests that people with a general tendency to compete can benefit more from using activity apps.

“App users come from personal pleasure (internal motivation) and personal values ​​(results of exercise) that come from physical activity, and these combined motivations lead to greater participation in physical activity,” said Peterson.

This study shows that exercise applications have a positive effect on social motivation, in particular, by promoting participation in physical activity and its motivation and confidence to engage in physical activity.

However, it is also known that online interactions can have a negative impact on fitness professionals if used for direct comparison on social media.

“Participating in the comparison was low self-esteem and high external control and, in turn, low physical activity,” said Dr. Prechard, emphasizing the importance of exercise and the benefits of exercise to overall health.