Yao Meng Pages 25 - 32 ( 8 )
Physical inactivity is threatening the consistent trend of increased life expectancy that we have enjoyed over the past century. Thus, approaches to increase levels of physical activity are required. Social influence is an effective strategy for changing attitudes and behavior. An individual’s level of physical activity can be affected by interactions with his or her peer group; social interaction therefore can serve as a motivation for physical activity. The focus of the work reported here is to explore the use of social media to motivate people to increase their levels of physical activity. Following a review of recent research on methods of promoting physical activity, design strategies based on social interaction were identified. Based on these strategies, we implemented a system that aims to provide an enjoyable social network setting to motivate users to engage in sustained physical activity. We developed a walking-promotion system called Smart Manbo, which implements workout groups and competition to encourage physical activity. We evaluated this system by gathering user feedback via a 1-week user study with 16 participants. The results showed that the use of workout groups and competition had a significant effect on the likelihood of participants’ using the system. Competition rankings were positively correlated with the likelihood of use, and the ranking criterion was positively correlated with exercise motivation and the likelihood of system use.
Design strategy, healthcare, physical activity promotion, persuasive technology, social network.
School of Information Technology, Eastern Liaoning University, China.