The Wall Street Journal reports on another study showing that reminding (some call it nagging) has its virtues – this time for exercising. As part of the study, one group of people received a weekly phone call from a human asking them how much exercise they’d gotten that week and congratulating them if they had met a personal goal. Another group got a similar call from an automated system. A third group got no call.
After 12 months, participants receiving calls from a live person were exercising, as a mean, about 178 minutes a week, above government recommendations for 150 minutes a week. That represented a 78% jump from about 100 minutes a week at the start of the study. Exercise levels for the group receiving computerized calls doubled to 157 minutes a week. A control group of participants, who received no phone calls, exercised 118 minutes a week, up 28% from the study’s start. “When you knew you were going to have to report back on what you had done, it motivated you,” says Ms. Lowe.