New results from a research study by the Human Performance Centre for MMVSENSE Ltd show that fund raising for a charity is an effective way to motivate people to do more physical activity.
The study piloted a new platform called Activity4Charity, which combines use of an electronic pedometer and a website in an online behavioural change programme. The website includes a range of motivational features to encourage participants to do more physical activity and participants in the trial were split into 4 groups to compare how effective these features were. Results showed that the addition of fund raising, linked to achieving daily activity targets, acted as an effective motivation to increasing and sustaining activity. People who raised money did on average 2579 steps/day more than those that did not.
Dr Mark Allen, Senior Lecturer with the Dept of Applied Sciences, who led the team running the study said: "The difference in daily steps between the charity and non charity participants is statistically significant and indicates that charity sponsorship may be an effective motivator for people to do more physical activity. We also collected health questionnaire data and saw a reduction in feelings of depression as a result of the 6 week programme".
Participants in the scheme were enthusiastic about how fit they felt after completing the 6 week trial. Davida Jeffrey, who raised money for the Alzheimer's Society, said: “The whole challenge was great, easy to use and easy to raise money. It changed my behaviour: I now get off 2 tube stops before I need to and walk the extra distance”. Iain Killoughery who also raised money for the Alzheimer's Society said: "It's a great way to measure your activity and you can see that you can achieve more than you thought. It was a surprising reality check on how little exercise you do some days".
Building on this success, the Activity4Charity team are running their first commercial health challenge starting in January 2012. Anyone who wants to get fit after Christmas and raise money for a good cause can find out more at www.activity4charity.co.uk.
Posted: 09 December 2011