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A New Megastudy Reveals Why we Return to the Gym

A new megastudy -a massive field experiment- reveals that simple rewards for returning to the gym after missed workouts is the most effective approach to motive people to come back to the gym.

The study, which targeted over 60,000 people, look into 54 different four-week digital programs (interventions) designed to encourage exercise. The results, recently published in Nature, show that 45% of these interventions – which consisted of digital experiences, text reminders, weekly emails and reward incentives – significantly increased weekly gym visits (by 9–27%) during the four-week plan.

Megastudies are new approach to research that allows to recruit unusually high number of participants, while maintaining quality control, to test several hypotheses at the same time, overcoming some of the challenges typically presented in large scale studies. In behavioral science, traditional hypothesis testing is costly because usually it’s only possible to test a single hypothesis at the time, and the results are only valid in the demographic or area where they were obtained. 

Megastudies are especially well-suited for the digital era as results are available almost without delay. Thus, don’t be surprised to see researchers and digital exercise service providers collaborate often in the future. 

Milkman, K.L., Gromet, D., Ho, H. et al. Megastudies improve the impact of applied behavioral science. Nature (2021). HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1038/S41586-021-04128-4 

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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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