It’s hard to get motivated to get moving and the search for the best method to get people off the couch continues. Money has found to be especially powerful when applied effectively. “I think different things motivate different people,” says Dr. John Higgins, a sports cardiologist with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “We know that a financial incentive, and especially a withdrawal of finances, is better than just paying someone to exercise.”
Previous studies found some success tying exercise with monetary reward, but a new study at Penn ports Cardiology and Fitness found a more effective twist: provide the money up front, and remove amounts when goals are not achieved. “Someone has been given some money upfront, and if they don’t meet their exercise goals, some money is taken away from them. That seems to be the better way to motivate people,” says Dr. Higgins. A 24-week study of 105 patients divided them into three groups, all armed with wearable fitness trackers to monitor the amount of exercise they engaged in: one was a control group, another was rewarded with money for achieved their goals and one was given money upfront and had it withdrawn for failing those goals. The last group exercised the most, up 1,368 steps a day.