Health

Fitness Technologies and Young Adults’ Health Motivation | by Ms Samadrita | Oct, 2021

Ms Samadrita

This study was done with the aim to find out the relationship between fitness technologies and young adults’ health motivation through quantitative design research methods.

While fitness technologies are effective in increasing daily physical activities [1, 2], there are not many related studies conducted in the Indian context. Recent data shows high shipment of fitness technologies to India [3] with young adults (18–25 years) seemingly the potential users. It is important to know how the use of fitness technologies affects their physical activities and vice-versa.

RQ1 : Does the use of fitness technologies increase physical activities among young adults?

RQ2 : Do young adults who use fitness technologies have higher perceived fitness goals and perceived exercise self-efficacy than those who do not?

While the research strategy for RQ1 was deductive, i.e. to test the theory that fitness technologies increase young adults’ physical activities, the strategy for RQ2 was inductive, i.e. to compare the two groups (young adults who use fitness technologies vs. those who do not) to arrive at a theory.

These questions were expanded into a survey through Google Forms, which was the most convenient way to conduct a survey during the pandemic.

The survey had three sections. Section 1 had questions about participants’ age, gender, place of residence, whether they are a student, whether they use wearable activity trackers and since when, if they have been asked by doctors to exercise due to health reasons, and whether they have any concerns regarding wearable activity trackers.

Section 2 dealt with their health motivation and asked them to rate the following statements on a 5-point Likert scale from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree” —

  • Fitness and exercise are very important to me.
  • I like to stay in shape.
  • I exercise every week.
  • Fitness and exercise are satisfying activities.

Section 3 consisted of statements about their exercise and asked them to rate the following statements on a 5-point Likert scale from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree” —

  • I exercise even if I feel depressed.
  • I exercise even when I feel tense.
  • I exercise even when I am tired.
  • I exercise even when I am busy (e.g. hectic schedule at college, workplace, other commitments).

A pilot study was conducted with 5 participants recruited through convenience sampling. After completing the survey, they were interviewed to understand issues with the clarity, language, and flow of questions in the form.

The feedback from the pilot study was that the statements tend to give an affirmative influence on the user. Instead, it would be better to rephrase them as –

My exercise routine gets affected by
a. Tiredness b. Business c. Tension d. Depression

The following research questions were formulated and distributed as a Google Form to 99 young adults who were recruited through convenience sampling on Whatsapp and other social media.

Research Question 1: Comparison of physical activities of young adults before and after using fitness technologies

Two hypotheses were tested under RQ1.

H1 — Young adults are more regular in their exercise schedule after using fitness technologies.

H2 — Young adults’ exercising time has increased after using fitness technologies.

A within-subjects study was conducted to compare the physical activities of young adults before and after using fitness technologies, with the following variables :

  • Independent Variable — Using fitness technologies (2 levels — Before and After using fitness technologies)
  • Dependent Variable — Physical activities before and after using fitness technologies

The following three statements related to physical activities had to be answered-

  1. I am regular in my exercise schedule. — 5-point Likert scale from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”
  2. On average, I exercise daily for— no exercise, less than 30 minutes, 30 to 45 minutes, 45 to 60 minutes, more than 60 minutes
  3. In a week, I exercise for — 1–2 days, 3–4 days, 5–6 days, all 7 days, no exercise

Two statistical tests were used to analyze the data — Wilcoxon signed rank test (SPSS) and Independent Ordinal KS test.

Research Question 2: Comparison of young adults’ perceived fitness goals and exercise self-efficacy between those who use fitness technologies and those who do not

Two hypotheses were tested under RQ1.

H3 — Young adults who use fitness technologies have higher perceived fitness goals than those who do not.

H4 — Young adults who use fitness technologies have higher exercise self-efficacy than those who do not.

A between-subjects study was conducted to compare young adults’ perceived fitness goals and exercise self-efficacy between those who use fitness technologies and those who do not, with the following variables.

  • Independent Variable— Using fitness technologies (2 levels — Yes and No)
  • Two Dependent Variables— Perceived fitness goals [4], perceived exercise self-efficacy [5] (Cronbach’s alpha was more than 0.8 for both these variables)

Perceived fitness goals were measured using a 5-point Likert scale from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree” [1] using the following 4 statements.

  1. Fitness is very important to me
  2. I like to stay in shape
  3. I exercise regularly
  4. For me being fit is more important than relaxation

Perceived exercise self-efficacy was measured using a 5-point Likert scale from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree” [2] using the following 10 statements.

I am confident that:

  1. that I can overcome barriers and challenges with regard to physical activity and exercise if I try hard enough
  2. that I can find means and ways to be physically active and exercise
  3. that I can accomplish my physical activity and exercise goals that I set
  4. that when I am confronted with a barrier to physical activity or exercise I can find several solutions to overcome this barrier
  5. that I can be physically active or exercise even when I am tired
  6. that I can be physically active or exercise even when I am feeling depressed
  7. that I can be physically active or exercise even without the support of my family or friends
  8. that I can be physically active or exercise without the help of a therapist or trainer
  9. that I can motivate myself to start being physically active or exercising again after I’ve stopped for a while
  10. that I can be physically active or exercise even if I had no access to a gym, exercise, training, or rehabilitation facility

Two statistical tests were used to analyze the data — Independent Ordinal KS test and Independent Interval T-test.

Young adults are more regular in their exercise schedule after using fitness technologies.

Young adults’ exercising time has increased after using fitness technologies.

Young adults who use fitness technologies have higher perceived fitness goals than those who do not.

Young adults who use fitness technologies have higher exercise self-efficacy than those who do not.

Limitations

References

  1. Puig-Ribera A, Bort-Roig J, González-Suárez AM, Martínez-Lemos I, Giné-Garriga M, Fortuño J, et al. Patterns of impact resulting from a “Sit Less, Move More” web-based program in sedentary office employees. PLoS One (2015) 10(4):e0122474. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122474
  2. Earwear and Watches Leads to a Record Quarter for Wearables in India with 11.8 million units shipped in 3Q20, Says IDC India, 2020. Retrieved 1st March 2021 from https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prAP47039820
  3. Hung, Iris W. and Aparna A. Labroo (2011), “From Firm Muscles to Firm Willpower: Understanding the Role of Embodied Cognition in Self-Regulation,” Journal of Consumer Research, 37 (6), 1046–1064.
  4. Kroll, T., Kehn, M., Ho, P. S., & Groah, S. (2007). The SCI Exercise Self-Efficacy Scale (ESES): development and psychometric properties. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 4, 34. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-4-34

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