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Digital Interventions in Self-Determined Exercise Motivation


Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)


Research confirming the beneficial effects of physical activity and warns about the risks of sedentary behavior are abundant in contemporary literature. Yet, humans have probably never been as sedentary as we are now. Nothing is more than a click away, we do not even have to leave the couch – food is delivered to our doors and we are able to both work and socialize digitally. Despite a huge amount and variety of health information available, it is obvious that a lot of people do not lead as healthy lives as they could. Most people are generally aware that regular exercise habits are beneficial from a health perspective, but apparently that knowledge is not enough to incorporate the behaviour into lifestyle routines. Exercise research has for the past 30 years steadily shown that as much as 50 per cent of exercise initiators drop out within 3-6 months. Hence, not even good intentions don’t seem to be sufficient for people to be able to adhere to exercise behaviours.

Exercise adherence therefore seems to be a considerable challenge, and since adherence is closely related to motivational aspects it is important to understand how to construct interventions promoting motivation and commitment. Traditional exercise interventions and promotion programs often lack sound theory foundations, hence also falling short in terms of structure and adequate evaluation systems.  Theory based work enable a deeper analysis of the underlying (psychological) processes, providing a more profound understanding of why some behavior changes are successful and some are not. It also generates structure and content to the intervention and enables identification of contributing factors and in which part of the process each factor is significant. These aspects are not only important for face to face programs but also in e-health, in terms of how we design tools and services, thereby placing high demands on our ability in applying theory to practice. Theory can also help us tailor personalized tools and services in our interventions, e.g. by identifying stage of change, facilitating motivational climate and autonomy support or managing barriers and drop-out.

In this project modern research in exercise motivation and behaviour change guides the design in developing a digital intervention package for the health industry (Tappa Service AB and Health Profile Institute AB). The main aims are to enhance knowledge about the psychological processes behind exercise adherence and to develop and test a theory based digital tool to support durable behavior change.

Citera: Weman Josefsson, Karin, Digital Interventions in Self-Determined Exercise Motivation, Book of Abstracts : ENYSSP 9th Workshop: 25-26th October 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden., s. 6-6, 2013