Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cyber partners help you go the distance

Date:
May 16, 2012
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
A competent, virtual exercise partner can boost motivation and improve team performance. A new study, testing the benefits of a virtual exercise partner, shows that the presence of a moderately more capable cycling partner boosts motivation to stick to an exercise program.

A competent, virtual exercise partner can boost motivation and improve team performance.

Related Articles


A new study, testing the benefits of a virtual exercise partner, shows that the presence of a moderately more capable cycling partner boosts motivation to stick to an exercise program. The work by Brandon Irwin and colleagues, from Michigan State University in the US, is published online in Springer's journal, Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

For many people, lack of motivation is a barrier to achieving both the recommended amount and intensity of exercise. Using the principles of group exercise, which is known to increase people's motivation to stick to an exercise program, the researchers investigated whether a virtually present partner would influence participants' motivation to exercise for longer.

A total of 58 young women, recruited from university-based physical activity courses, took part in the experiment and exercised on a stationary bike on six separate days, including one training session. They were split into three groups. The first group exercised independently alongside a virtual person. The second group also exercised alongside a virtual person but this time they worked as a team, and the performance of the team was determined by the weakest link i.e. the one who stopped exercising first. The third group cycled alone.

At the start of the experiment, the women in groups 1 and 2 were assigned a 'virtually present partner' -- also a female -- for the ride and were told that their partner would be riding at the same time they were, on a similar bike in another lab. The women 'met' their partners via a pre-recorded video-chat, and were told that their partner's performance was moderately better than their own. During the exercise sessions, participants were able to track their partner's progress by watching the partner ride, on what looked like a live feed but was in fact a recording.

All students rode a video-game exercise bike for as long as they felt comfortable. They were then asked to rate their intention to exercise again, how well they felt they had done, and how tired they felt. The researchers measured how hard they had worked.

Overall, exercising with a virtually present partner improved performance on the cycling task: Participants cycled for longer when working alongside a more capable partner than when exercising alone. Across sessions, those women who exercised as part of a team cycled, on average, two minutes longer than those who exercised independently with a partner (22 versus 20 minutes), and twice as long as those who exercised without a partner (22 versus 11 minutes).

In terms of motivation, there was a marked decline in intent to exercise among those who cycled on their own. In contrast, those who cycled with a virtual partner reported no decline in motivation to exercise.

The authors conclude: "Being able to more than double one's performance is a substantial gain for those trying to increase their physical activity. These results are encouraging and suggest that the gains we observed over six hour-long sessions could be sustained on a longer-term program of exercise. This may be of particular value in future efforts to help people meet physical activity recommendations."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brandon C. Irwin, Jennifer Scorniaenchi, Norbert L. Kerr, Joey C. Eisenmann, Deborah L. Feltz. Aerobic Exercise Is Promoted when Individual Performance Affects the Group: A Test of the Kohler Motivation Gain Effect. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s12160-012-9367-4

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Cyber partners help you go the distance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516093158.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2012, May 16). Cyber partners help you go the distance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516093158.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Cyber partners help you go the distance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516093158.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins