I am no psychologist, nor am I a behaviouralist, but getting people to exercise is a real issue.
It is well established that exercise has numerous health benefits. Most people appear vaguely aware that regular exercise is part of being healthy, yet health literacy, including exercise, is reportedly very low. Education is thus an issue, but even clients with prescribed training regimes for health, exercise adherence, or compliance is poor (Plotnikoff et al, 2006). Given competition against heavily backed marketing campaigns promising a quick fix or wonder pill or diet, the unsexy regime of moderate aerobic exercise has little chance of survival. Interestingly, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is undertaking an Exercise is Medicine marketing campaign, an approach that the Australian Association of Exercise and Sports Sciences (AAESS) is adopting. At a recent meeting it was interesting to hear Professor Robergs comment that the word medicine has potential negative connotations, so the marketing campaign (apparently aimed at GPs) may be as negative as it is positive.
The selling of the exercise product is probably not the problem here though and the adherence issue points out that you also need a good product. Perhaps nothing else captures this as well as the Volkswagen Fun Theory campaign below.
New innovative ways to need to be considered to package exercise for health. Sport is one potential way. The controversial Crawford report released yesterday, if adopted by the Rudd Government, may provide some incentive for sports to re-package part of their product in this way.
Isn’t keeping healthy whilst having fun sports biggest selling point?