Promoting Exercise through Gamification – Making Physical Activity More Fun?

I don’t know how many coaches told me “no pain, no gain.” I can tell you that as a child and young adult, it was never the pain part of exercise that encouraged me to be active. It was the fun— chasing down a deep ball to left field, juking the other team’s point guard with my (lame) crossover move.

So I was excited to see a JAMA article led by Mitesh Patel (a fantastic researcher and physician at the University of Pennsylvania) demonstrating that people exercise more when their experience is “gamified”.

I love the study. But the results are underwhelming, and I have a feeling I know why. Their idea of gamification was not as much fun as it ultimately needed to be.

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