It should be noted that after 12 weeks, partners on the app barely earned enough for a cup of coffee. So, it’s not like these are huge financial incentives. But—they seem to work.
“Even though it’s a very small reward,” says lead author of the study, Emma Pearson, “it does motivate people both to participate in the challenge and to achieve the challenge. Having a partner who shares the same aims and rewards builds on that incentive. It’s feeling connected with someone, having someone to hold them accountable.”
And in a time where gyms are once again closing to due COVID-19 restrictions, it’s important we all find ways to stay motivated. “When it’s more of a struggle getting people to get together and helping people improve their physical activity levels,” Pearson adds, “you can still connect virtually.”
There are two big takeaways here: First, apps that include reward-based systems are a good idea if you’re on the virtual workout train. “More people are using wellness and activity apps. I think it’s important to design ones that actually work and have the methodology to show they work,” notes study co-author and kinesiology professor, Marc Mitchell.
And on top of that, finding a partner to work out with can help keep you both motivated and accountable. Maybe the two of you even figure out your own reward-system, or compete with each other. (Whoever runs faster buys the other coffee, for example.)