Motivation or obsession? Do people really need that exercise?

It seems that our daily life are inseparable with technology in modern days.With advanced device, we can easily record our life in detail,which is a efficient and healthy way for people to keep their good habits. In Paul Barratt’s study “Healthy competition: A qualitative study investigating persuasive technologies and the gamification of cycling”, he used cycling as an example to illustrate that mobile applications motivate people to cycle more and keep health. Gamification has been articulated as a key term here, by using the method like Points,Badges, Leaderboards , Progress bars ,etc;people become more motivated to involve in cycling. But do we really need that exercise? Are we already effected by competitive thought to become obsessive and targeted rather than keep healthy unconsciously? I think we should pay more attention to decrease the negative effect of competition which is brought by gamification which means to reduce the competitive thought in gamificational social comparison.

As mentioned in Garcia et al, social comparison can lead to competition. The gamification of fitness applications will definitely cause social comparison among users. People compete with each other to defeat others ,in order to achieve tournament is the basic rule in game.It is hard to cause a win-win result in such situation which is also effective in gamification applications. People will easily obsessive with the enjoyment of increasing their level of badget, or beating others down from the scoreboard.In Paul Barratt’s research, he focus on the relationship of motivation and gamification, but few about the negative impact had been mentioned. Actually, it is obvious that many people are doing the cycling they do not need; The goal for them maybe just want to surpass others in rank or become No.1 in the scoreboard, in other words, people want to satisfy their competitive thought through the exercise.

With the progress of the technology, it seems that people are become more “interactive”,but actually people are more like “single and lonely island” than ever before. As mentioned in rosalynnine “fitness tracks and linking reward to performance is an easy way to create or enhance competition”, people now are under the risk of submerging by competitive thought which is lead by gamification to lets them regardless of the true meaning of the activity. Here is a joke that the men want to be the top on walking steps scoreboard, so he wraps his cellphone with his dog for the whole day. That is a extreme example here, but we really need to think more logically, do we really need to do this or just want to show off on the scoreboard to compete with others.

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  1. Thank you for your post. I just have this question in my head that if people are comparing themselves to other people and choosing to follow up with the activity that these apps are making you do, isn’t it technically one’s choice to do what they are doing?


  2. I agree completely that gamifying exercise is not needed. In some cases, it could be a fun way to see how you do against others. This does cause issues where people don’t exercise out of enjoyment, but for the prestige. Do you think that these companies really have the best interests of the people when they design these apps? Or are they purposefully addictive to make more money off the download?


  3. Thank you for your post! Our daily lives are indeed inseparable with technology in modern days since the technology provides services that improve our quality of life. Gamification of fitness apps can mislead users as some users are more interested in competition rather than self-improvement. However, I wouldn’t say ALL kinds of users would be disadvantaged using such apps since the app itself was initially designed for the users to motivate and foster healthy lifestyle, and there are certain users who benefit from these apps.


  4. Thank you for your post! But I wished to know more about why you think that competition in exercise is that harmful. After all isn’t exercise an extremely healthy activity to engage in? I agree in that a competitive nature promoted by apps but why is that inherently so wrong if its leading to a positive result?


  5. Thank you for your reply. My opinion is gamification on fitness apps and people’s competitive thought lead us to do more needless exercise. The claim here is under the premise of admitting the positive side of the gamification on fitness apps. In thelast part of the assigned article, the author pointed out they need more research on the negative impact on ganification on fitness apps. My point here is to illustrate that people will influence by the negative impact to become more obsessive which will cause the needless exercise, even sometimes beyond our body’s endurance. It is true we can get benefit from fitness apps, but we also need to consider do we really exercise as our wish or influence by the competitive thought to beat others,to maintain the No1 position, which actually is the negative impact people should think more here. Thank you!


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