Why fear of death is the ultimate fitness motivation
Of course, you might want a six-pack in time for the summer, so you can perform a muscle-up to impress your friends or to avoid being embarrassed by your love handles when you take your shirt off. But maybe what really motivates you to get in shape is something more existential: fear of death.
At least that’s what a study by researchers at the University of Waterloo reveals, which found that fitness apps that focus on messages related to illness or death are more likely to be effective in motivating participation than messages on social stigma, obesity or financial costs. Basically, it’s the Squid game approach to fitness.
In the study, 669 people were asked to rate how persuasive different types of messages were to motivate them to work out at home with a fitness app.
“I didn’t expect that only the messages related to illness and death would be meaningful and motivating,” said Kiemute Oyibo, postdoctoral researcher in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo . “Not only were the messages related to illness and death motivating, but they had a significant relationship with self-regulatory belief (goal setting) and outcome expectations (in relation to bodyweight exercises such as push-ups), and there was no significant difference between males and females.
In other words, fear of death might be the best way to motivate yourself to set a goal of doing 30 push-ups.
Oyibo said he expected obesity-related messages (such as “one in four people is clinically obese”) to be motivating and have a meaningful relationship with goal setting, being given that obesity is one of the leading causes of death in the world, but it has not been.
Interestingly, previous studies on smoking cessation and risky sexual behaviors found that messages related to mortality could be a barrier to recognizing health risks, but the study found the opposite for them. fitness apps.
Oyibo believes the results indicate that messages related to illness and death can be used as a persuasive technique to motivate regular exercise.
So if you really want to get in shape, you might want to look for a trainer or app that will scare you to death.