Raise the bar: double exercise rates with a virtual race

When some companies promote fitness by giving money and gift cards as rewards, they miss out on the most powerful motivator known to humankind: competition!

New research by the University of Pennsylvania shows that simply putting people in a competition can nearly double their workout levels.

“Competitive groups frame relationships in terms of goal-setting by the most active members,” says Damon Centola, an associate professor in University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and senior author of a recent paper that examined in the impact of competition on exercise. “These relationships help to motivate exercise because they give people higher expectations for their own levels of performance.” 

Unfortunately, fitness is invisible at most companies, since very few staffers exercise at the office. Most people exercise in their own neighborhoods or health clubs. So all that potential positive peer pressure has zero impact on colleagues’ fitness attitudes or workout rates.

How to fix this? Get people to exercise in the same virtual space!

The Racery solution:

To broadcast exercise no matter where or when it happens, Racery maps staffer exercise on a virtual route, making it  visible to all participants via the web, apps or e-mail. Each staffer’s exercise gets converted into progress on the route, so colleagues feel like they’re exercising together. Participants can compete individually or in teams. Other Racery features — digital bibs, awards, tips, passing alerts — gently reinforce participants’ sense of community and competition.

Watch the video to get a full rundown on Centola’s research… 

The research:

How virtual racing affects motivation:

“People were so involved in trying to outdo each other they forgot they were doing something good for themselves,” says Lisa Hara, Director of Human Resources at Chicago-based ShowingTime.

“This race keeps me focused on my goals every day… I think: ‘Ryan is right on my heels and I only need a couple of miles to stay ahead of him,’” says Jane Halpin, Associate Director of Pre-Award Research Administration at Duke University School of Nursing.

“The community Racery creates is infectious. It takes engagement in employee wellness programs to a whole new level,” says Jay Groves, Executive Director of Population Health Management at Fitness & Wellness Professional Services.

Test the power of competition by building a free virtual race test, or request a virtual race demo.

[Related: Racery’s automated nudges help boost employee fitness, and 89% of participants in one corporate virtual race reported a boost in motivation.]