Workout Reminders & Motivation With A Fitness Chatbot
Less Is Often More.
Some people find it easy to engage in physical activities but research found that America is not as active as it seems to be. Mastering an active lifestyle is about good time management and developing physical exercise routines. A gym subscription, a workout buddy, a personal fitness trainer or weekly runs through the park can all contribute to a healthy exercise routine.
It’s not difficult for people to find an activity to sweat for, it’s just difficult to make the activity a “comfortable” habit.
The Problem With Gyms
“I need to hit the gym again. It’s been 2 weeks!”
There are plenty of benefits when visiting the gym but unfortunately gyms are not for everybody. About 67% of people who sign up to the gym don’t visit the facility regularly. People feel uncomfortable with unfamiliar surroundings or handling workout machines that are difficult to utilize without proper introduction. Some gyms offer introduction sessions but in other gyms personal trainers take care of that.
Furthermore, there’s a lack of engagement between gyms and gym subscribers. Gym subscribers are not motivated or reminded in a meaningful way to visit the gym on a regular basis. It’s actually against the interest of the gym to fill up it’s facilities.
Unfortunately, not many gyms are designed to focus on the holistic approach of health. It becomes difficult to maximize physical performance if emotional and mental health are not supported together. Reduced physical performance leads to worse results, and therefore it becomes a challenge to form a consistent routine to go to the gym.
The Problem With Fitness Apps
“Download this app — it’ll keep you productive once you get the hang of it!”
There are plenty of fitness apps out there with strong focus on providing performance feedback, dietary suggestions or workout plans. Fitness apps can be helpful for individuals who don’t mind the extra engagement with the app itself. Unfortunately, not many have the headspace to stay engaged with apps and consistently put in personal fitness information, diets or design workout plans. Analytics can help optimize personal performance but some users feel daunted by checking on analytics too often. Daily fluctuations in body weight and not improving performance of previous weeks can have a negative effect on the motivation.
More so we face a personalization issue with almost every fitness application. Dietary computations and performance indicators can be overstated or understated for users. According to Dr. Peter Attia, co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, “All calories are not created equally … The energy content of food (calories) matters, but it is less important than the metabolic effect of food on our body.” Hence, a calorie is not the same calorie for everyone.
Understanding personal health tends to be rather complex and depends on many different factors but does your app tell you how it computes those things? — It probably doesn’t.
An Alternative Solution For Physical Inactivity.
“I need something seamless that engages me with my personal fitness goals while motivating me with educational content.”
Over the past months Sodima Solutions has been working on discovering user preferences and developing the beta version of a personal fitness chatbot solution.
The goal is to create a personalized chatbot experience that would not be time demanding while engaging the user with their weekly fitness routine.
One of the primary research findings, participants who used the chatbot were 26% more likely to meet or exceed personal fitness goals compared to participants that didn’t use the technology.
The chatbot did not only help participants to stay consistent with their workout routine but participants were also able to use the bot for a variety of other physical activities (e.g. at home cardio workout or daily runs).
Motivating Users To Stay Consistent.
Motivation to workout more frequently is built by education, continuous reminders, engaging content and rewards. These aspects contribute to the mental state of the user and help individuals build healthy habits. Motivation is dramatically increased with a consistent accountability partner who reminds the user of their personal goal. By developing a chatbot we plan to replicate an accountability partner who sends out engaging push notifications at specified days. — Similar to a personal fitness trainer.
Educational and motivational content shared by the chatbot reminds users about the importance of their efforts. Educational content helps the user see the consequences before they happen. E.g. “a lack of physical activity increases the risk of dying of cancer 45 percent for men and 28 percent for women.” Motivational content helps the user feel inspired and creates an urgency to stay persistent with personal workout goals.
In a psychological study it was proven that self-efficacy can be manipulated and enhanced, given the right stimulus (Weinberg et al.,1979).
Lastly, users have to feel rewarded for their efforts so that input gets associated with a positive output. A rewards feature and enhanced content will soon be introduced to the chatbot as we’re working on the feature roadmap.
Combining motivation with education and flexible reminders we hope to provide a solution for those who struggle to find the courage to stick with a healthy work out routine. Currently, we’re beta testing and plan to learn as much as possible from early user interactions.
This will help us enhance our feature road map and launch a product that can truly make a difference in people’s lives.