Can texting actually help people be more active?
A lack of physical activity is clearly an issue in our society. Many of us spend 8 hours a day behind a desk staring at a computer. This is certainly not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
Our jobs absorb us and sometimes hours pass before we realize we haven’t taken a step or even stood up.
What can be done? Some are turning to text messages.
A study of university students used texting to try to help people be more active in 3 simple ways.
Taking breaks from sitting
The text messages in the study encouraged people to break from sitting for long periods. The article describing the study said the following: “The goal was to see students take 3 to 6 minute breaks for every 30 minutes of sitting, or 6 to 10 minute breaks every hour.”
Thus, sending text messages encouraged students to have some kind of break from sitting, perhaps by standing, stretching, or going over to the water fountain to get a drink.
Instead of standing only during a break, text messages urged people to “stand when possible”. I picture the standing desks in use today and how they accomplish this goal of discouraging sitting.
I don’t know what specific messages they sent out in the study with the students, but I imagine it might say something along the lines of, “Instead of sitting on a comfy couch with your feet up to do your homework, try doing it on a table or high surface while standing!”
Engaging in physical activity
The study further encouraged people to engage in some kind of physical activity. The article described this as “light- and moderate-intensity” activity, so probably included activities such as taking a walk or going for a run.
Many people find it difficult to find intrinsic motivation for any sort of physical activity, so it makes sense that an external motivator—even one as simple as a brief text message—could go a long well to help.
The results of the study were not breath-taking, but they were promising. The article describing the study concluded: “The researchers, encouraged by their results, hope to see larger, controlled studies that use text messaging to increase standing and light activity.”
This is yet another area in which you can take advantage of text alerts! Be a motivator for your employees, friends, co-workers, or anyone else you come into contact with. You can help people be more active.
Try a free test account of a text alert system today!