Exercise Carrot? Play on the Team?
Why won’t the very individuals that need the data, logging and exercise participation tools developed by creative and dedicated companies actually use them? That is a problem that we all grapple with and we succeed at varying levels not always in balance with time and money invested in the process. The recent end to Google’s Health Records Service seems a good time to address the basic premises behind a lot of hard work and innovative technologies.
What’s the problem? I wish I knew. In my experience over the past 15 years with people of all ages in a wide and diverse set of environments one thing seems to be a factor: People are too busy with other things – there is an information overload even for those who might be motivated to begin a tracking or logging habit around diet or exercise.
That behavior change is a tough sell to the individual, because the “individual” is never the specific target. Behavioral inertia is a function of our choices and habits – both the good ones and the bad ones. Selling directly to the individual consumer might work for the “sale” but not for the long term compliance to use the product – whether it is a gym membership, a fitness dvd, new jogging shoes etc. In the longterm, the individual is pushed toward daily choices by their sense of having power, choice or control over their actions – at any age. If work, family and other things are limiting, stressful and overwhelming they will head to something they have control over for their leisure, social, entertainment and “off-time” choices. Exercise and wellness pursuits requiring discipline or change don’t usually make the top of the list.