One of the issues with exercise research I’ve had trouble resolving is that while I find the work investigating the science of adaptations to exercise fascinating, there always seems to be an issue with the human ‘factors’ that we can’t solve. With the staggering rate of obesity, ways to motivate people to get moving are obviously of interest, seeing that our own intrinsic motivation to improve our health isn’t cutting it (at least for most of us).
Do financial penalties improve client attendance?
After reading the book Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely (1), I wrote a post on how I think charging for missed sessions could ultimately reduce exercise adherence. I drew heavily on a study that demonstrated the differences between social and financial norms, where, in a daycare setting, the sense of social obligation to pick kids up on time trumped a newly introduced monetary fine for late pickups. When the fine was introduced, they switched from a social to a market norm and late pickups skyrocketed as parents no longer felt the sense of social obligation (guilt) to be on time.
When applied to the fitness world, I focused on the trainer-client dynamic and how the social obligation to attend sessions was likely of greater importance to exercise adherence than the nominal fee that trainers may charge for lost time. But how do you impact exercise adherence when there isn’t a trainer involved, when you’re just trying to get people active and in the gym on their own time?Continue Reading