Recent quotes:

Want to quit smoking? Partner up: Couples who attempt to stop smoking together have a sixfold chance of success -- ScienceDaily

At the end of the programme, 64% of patients and 75% of partners were abstinent -- compared to none and 55% at the start, respectively. The odds of quitting smoking at 16 weeks were significantly higher (5.83-fold) in couples who tried to quit together compared to patients who attempted it alone. "Previous research has shown that ex-smokers can also positively influence their spouse's attempts to quit, but in this study the effect was not statistically significant," said Ms Lampridou. "As for non-smoking partners, there is a strong risk that they will adopt their spouse's habit." Ms Lampridou noted that research is needed to confirm the findings in smokers who are otherwise healthy.

The Races Are Virtual but the Running Is Real - The New York Times

The New York Road Runners’ virtual races are free, unless runners are using them as a way to get into a sellout race. In 2018, the organization opened 500 spots for runners to run a virtual marathon, which, if they completed it, would get them a race medal and guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon this year (it cost $150, compared to $295 to run in the actual marathon; they also got a finisher medal but no finisher shirt). For guaranteed entry into the 2020 Brooklyn Half Marathon, runners can sign up for and complete each of six virtual races, at $20 per race. They also get access to a virtual trainer as part of their fee.

Effective self-control strategies involve much more than willpower -- ScienceDaily

They observe that in some cases the best self-control strategy involves us changing the situation to create incentives or obstacles that help us exercise self-control, such as using apps that restrict our phone usage or keeping junk food out of the house. In other cases it's more effective to change how we think about the situation -- for example, by making an if-then plan to anticipate how we'll deal with treats in the office -- so that exercising self-control becomes more appealing or easier to accomplish. Other strategies work better when someone else implements them for us. For example, our electricity company might use social norms to prompt a change in our thinking, showing us how our energy usage compares with that of our neighbors. And policymakers often use situational constraints to prompt behavior focused on the long-term. Examples range from incentives (e.g., tax rebates for eco-friendly building materials) to penalties (e.g., raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol). Employers are increasingly using another type of situational constraint, defaults, to encourage employees to save for retirement; many are requiring people to opt out of an employer-provided retirement plan if they don't want to participate.

Does the 'buddy system' approach to weight loss work? A new research study says, yes, but it's not that simple -- ScienceDaily

The researchers found that the showcasing of average weight loss among a peer group can have a negative effect on an individual participant's actual weight loss. More specifically, when an individual compares himself or herself to their peer group, it can be discouraging. On the other hand, when the results of top performers in the weight loss program are showcased, it can have an encouraging effect on other participants' individual weight loss. Individuals tend to be more inspired by those who have achieved the most significant results.

Subtle visual cues nudge users to reveal more in online forum -- ScienceDaily

The researchers used a dynamic graphic representation of people standing in a crowd to convey crowd size. The size of the crowd suggested by the icon changed randomly for participants so that they were not merely jumping on the bandwagon of a large crowd, according to the researchers. The connectivity icon showed a network map with one circle labeled "You" to suggest the participant's place in the network. This icon also changed randomly. The researchers, who report their findings today (November 6) at the Association for Computing Machinery's annual Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing in Jersey City, NJ, tested the icons on a sexual health forum because while people tend to be reluctant to share information about their sexual behavior, disclosure is important to help them access health information, as well as help them make better health decisions. "In a marginalized -- or stigmatized -- group, it's often hard to get people to talk or to reveal personal information. However, we found that once the users got the sense that they were in the same boat as others, or that they were connected to others in the same network, they were more willing to disclose their private information and revisit the forum." said Andrew Gambino, doctoral student of mass communication, Penn State. "What we've found is a very basic design solution to increase participation in this group. This might be a way for small groups, particularly ones that deal with stigmatized or marginalized topics, to survive."

Virtual runs from Acadia to Katahdin mark amazing journeys

Like so many of the participants in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run and other virtual runs, Popper has found meaning and camaraderie in logging walking, running or hiking miles. Popper, who goes by the virtual race name @jennsjourney, has appreciated comments on the race message board from fellow virtual racers, especially @Keefa and @FL2ME. “I don’t know who Keefa is, or Flamethrower,” Popper said, but the support has meant a lot as she’s on her trek to raise funds for the two nonprofits that have meant a lot to her and her husband, the East Coast Greenway Alliance and FreeWalkers.

Seniors stick to fitness routines when they work out together -- ScienceDaily

Over the 24-week period, participants who worked out with people their own age attended an average of 9.5 more classes than counterparts in the mixed-age group. Participants in the mixed-age group averaged 24.3 classes. Participants in the same-age, mixed-gender group averaged 33.8 classes, and participants in the same-age, same-gender group averaged 30.7 classes.

How Harry Potter virtual running groups helped me conquer my depression

I dread solo runs the way the average person hates tax time. The solitary nature of the run forces me to turn inward, and as a goal-oriented overachiever with a fear of failure, I hate the introspection that these runs cultivate. The thought of spending hours wrestling with my body, willing it to keep going, with no distractions and no community support makes me question my sanity. I've tried all of the recommended tips and mental tricks, as well as fitness gadgets and apps to make solo running for long distances better. Only one thing has done the trick: virtual runs.

Exercise contagion in a global social network : Nature Communications

Less active runners influence more active runners, but not the reverse. Both men and women influence men, while only women influence other women.

We're motivated to stay ahead more than to catch up? (Relates to fear of losing?)

Peer effects in running are also heterogeneous across relationship types. For example, runners are more influenced by peers whose performance is slightly worse, but not far worse, than their own as well as by those who perform slightly better, but not far better, than they do (Fig. 2a). Moreover, less active runners influence more active runners more than more active runners influence less active runners (Fig. 2b). These results are corroborated by heterogeneity across consistent and inconsistent runners. Inconsistent runners influence consistent runners more than consistent runners influence inconsistent runners (Fig. 2c). Social comparisons may provide an explanation for these results. Festinger’s social comparison theory proposes that we self-evaluate by comparing ourselves to others27. But, in the context of exercise, a debate exists about whether we make upward comparisons to those performing better than ourselves28 or downward comparisons to those performing worse than ourselves29. Comparisons to those ahead of us may motivate our own self-improvement, while comparisons to those behind us may create ‘competitive behaviour to protect one’s superiority’ (27, p. 126). Our findings are consistent with both arguments, but the effects are much larger for downward comparisons than for upward comparisons.

Exercise contagion in a global social network : 10% boost

strong contagion effects: on the same day, on average, an additional kilometre run by friends influences ego to run an additional 3/10th of a kilometre (Fig. 1a); an additional kilometre per minute run by friends influences ego to run an additional 3/10th of a kilometre per minute faster (Fig. 1b); an additional 10 min run by friends influences ego to run 3 min longer (Fig. 1c); and an additional 10 calories burned by friends influences ego to burn three and a half additional calories (Fig. 1d). This peer influence diminishes over time, with friends’ running today influencing ego less tomorrow and the day after for every measure.

Hogwarts Running Club launches world's biggest virtual race

“Games are not just a source of entertainment,” writes Jane McGonigal, who analyzed the power of game-power and virtual communities in her book Super Better. “They are a model for how to become the best version of ourselves.”

FitBit's new sleep tracker is pretty darn cool

imagine what we’ll learn as warehouses worth of enhanced sleep data like get integrated into drug trials, therapy, physical exams, coaching, research and even education.

The Liaison Amani 2017 Virtual Marathon - Update March -

I therefore saw this challenge as a reason to change, I would be making myself accountable, raise awareness of the charity and have some fun banter with colleagues along the way. It has in all honesty completely changed my lifestyle. I now absolutely love walking and while I have had to build up my fitness, I reached a milestone on Sunday and achieved a 25km walk. I am now walking each KM 2-3 minutes quicker than when I started. Alongside the fitness and 21lb weight loss, the mental changes have been the biggest and most surprising change. It keeps me alert, helps clears= my mind after stressful or busy days and allows me to time to think.  Who knows, one day I might break into jog!

Science: Your new fitness tracker will not work miracles

People who are motivated to use today’s trackers can be reassured that “they really do a pretty effective job of letting people quantify their lifestyle habits,” says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise. “But there appears to be a gap between monitoring your habits and actually changing them.”

Ask Well: A Long Walk or a Short Stair Climb? - The New York Times

slowly climbing stairs demands almost twice as much energy per minute as does walking along a flat surface at an everyday (not brisk) pace. In practical terms, those numbers mean that you can burn nearly twice as many calories per minute climbing the stairs as strolling down the hall.

Holiday Challenge Participant - Motivated to Walk! - Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

I now use every opportunity to walk more and increase my steps, sometimes thinking outside the box. For example, at the airport. Yesterday, my flight landed at ATL and I had 1 hr 10 mins to catch my next flight. I landed at Concourse A and instead of taking the train to Concourse B for my flight – I decided to get a fast paced walk in. I walked from my gate on Concourse A to Concourse E and then back to Concourse B for my next flight. I did not use walking escalator nor the train and I walked 1.28 miles. I still had some time at our gate and so decided to walk the B Concourse from gate to end and back to gate and added another ½ mile. So instead of sitting around wasting time with iPhone or eating Bon Bons, I walked almost 2 miles and feel great, a little sweaty but great!

Find your motivation to run across Iceland! - Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

Racery serves as an amazing (and judgement-free) daily reminder to be active. You know that if you haven’t done something by 4 pm, their email will arrive and encourage you to get out and move.

Workout Pals in Distant Cities Take Spin Class Together, Virtually - WSJ

A Peloton bike costs $1,995 and Ms. Richter pays $39 a month for unlimited classes. Her Peloton bike shoes, which clip to the pedals, cost $125. Her private Pilates sessions cost $65 a 55-minute class.

What Is Fatigue? - The New Yorker

As the cyclists pedalled, a screen in front of them periodically flashed images of happy or sad faces in imperceptible sixteen-millisecond bursts, ten to twenty times shorter than a typical blink. The cyclists who were shown sad faces rode, on average, twenty-two minutes and twenty-two seconds. Those who were shown happy faces rode for three minutes longer and reported less of a sense of exertion. In a second experiment, the researchers demonstrated that subliminal action words (GO, LIVELY) could boost a subject’s cycling performance by seventeen per cent over inaction words (TOIL, SLEEP).

Want To Exercise More? Get Yourself Some Competition. | Annenberg School for Communication

Imagine you’re a CEO trying to get your employees to exercise. Most health incentive programs have an array of tools — pamphlets, websites, pedometers, coaching, team activities, step challenges, money — but what actually motivates people?[…]A new study to be published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports […]found these efforts should hone in on one area: Competition.

I Finally Found My Motivation - And Ran from Paris to Amsterdam! | Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh LessEat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

I paid for races to jumpstart my motivation, but eventually even shelling out $75 for a race was not enough to pressure me into exercising regularly. My well of joy for running had totally dried up. After 5 years of hunkering down into my non-running funk, I finally discovered my magic bullet: virtual racing. I was invited into an online race through Racery.com, and it made running purely fun, social, and extremely motivating. I also uncovered a competitive side I never knew I had!

Gyms That Make You Want to Exercise More - WSJ

Some Precor cardio equipment allows gym members to log in and save workouts. Precor found that people who save workouts go to the gym more often, according to data from about 25 clubs in Canada. “We can’t tell you that a saved workout drives people to come in more often,” Mr. Bartee says. “We just know that people who do save workouts come in more often.” The data also shows that people who log into a cardio machine work out 33% longer than those who don’t log in. People who use a machine’s video-on-demand service also work out 15% longer than those who don’t, Precor data shows.

Want a new body? Get a new 'buddy'! | News | The University of Aberdeen

Dr Rackow added: “Once we found that having a new exercise companion increases exercise frequency we wanted to find out why this is beneficial and what quality of support they offer that has this effect.   Our results showed that the emotional social support from the new sports companion was the most effective. Thus, it is more important to encourage each other than doing the actual activity together. “

I Finally Found My Motivation - And Ran from Paris to Amsterdam! | Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh LessEat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

After 5 years of hunkering down into my non-running funk, I finally discovered my magic bullet: virtual racing.

Your internal monologue during a workout determines success: study - The Globe and Mail

The study, led by Dr. Stephen Cheung and his student Phillip Wallace, explored the use of “motivational self-talk.” A group of 18 trained cyclists performed a series of tests that included a timed bike ride to exhaustion while maintaining a constant pedalling power, and a battery of cognitive tests in 35 C heat. Half of the group then received two weeks of self-talk training, and then they repeated the same series of physical and cognitive tests. The self-talk training, based on well-established sports psychology techniques, involved identifying negative thoughts that occurred to the cyclists during the first set of tests, such as “It’s so hot in here” or “I’m boiling,” and learning to replace them with motivational statements such as “Keep pushing, you’re doing well.” Each volunteer identified a set of statements that felt effective to them, with specific statements chosen for different parts of the test. The results, which were published online in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise last month, showed a clear difference. The self-talk group increased their cycling endurance from eight minutes to over 11 minutes, and also improved their speed and accuracy on a cognitive test that involved figuring out and remembering a route through a maze. The control group saw no change in either test.