Behavioral Science

Are Work Out Competitors Better Than Work Out Buddies?

Written by Amber

Our social surroundings strongly influence our exercise habits. From instafamous trainers to My Fitness Pal, most people already know that our environment has an effect on our fitness routines. That’s why so many of us look for a workout buddy. It makes it a lot easier to maintain a daily sweat. However, recent research suggests that work out competitors might be better at keeping us fit than work out buddies.

The Research

A little healthy competition can work wonders. In 2014, the Psychology of Sport and Exercise published a study comparing participants muscle endurance and self efficacy. Participants were to hold two planks for as long as they were able. One group was told after participants completed their first plank, that 80% of other participants held their second plank longer than their first. This group held their plank significantly longer than the control group the second time around.

A 2016 UPenn study had similar results. In an 11-week exercise program called Penn Shape, researchers divided exercisers into four groups: individual competition, team support, team competition, and a control group. Attendance rates of the competitive group were 90% higher than that of the control group. Damon Centola, senior author of the study, suggested that competition may be more effective because it gives the weaker participants a higher standard to hold themselves to. You can also read more about this topic in our guide about group challenges vs. personal challenges.

Incorporate healthy competition in your corporate wellness program by running a challenge with IncentFit. IncentFit’s app shows users their progress compared to others during fitness challenges, whether their competing as a team or solo. Use our inner competitive spirit to push employees to meet their fitness goals! Worried about an uneven playing field in a particular challenge? We have programs that keep employees of all fitness levels hooked. Ask us today how you can run a fun and engaging challenge with our cutting edge wellness platform.

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

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