Research shows that virtual races can double exercise rates

As companies seek to promote fitness using monatary rewards and gift cards, a key solution often gets ignored. 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, at most companies, very few staffers exercise at the office. Because most of us exercise in our own neighborhoods or local health clubs, our activities are invisible to our work peers. All the potential positive peer pressure has zero impact on colleagues’ fitness attitudes or workout rates.

So the trick is to put people into competitions where location doesn’t matter… virtual races!

The Racery solution:

With just a few clicks, your colleagues can experience a uniquely motivational virtual race. Nice upgrade to the classic step challenge!

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.

What are you waiting for? Test Racery’s motivational success for free with a 7-day virtual race!