A person taking his/her first steps

Social motivation and employee well-being

Recently I had an opportunity to give a short talk about how and why YuMuuv inspires people to be physically active. As I was looking through the summary, it seemed like a blog post worth material. So here it is.

I’ll start on a more personal level. A few years ago, I wrote a note to my father’s 50th-anniversary card that read something like this: you’ve had a great half-century. My wish would be that there would be at least the same number of years to come and that we could spend these years together – for this reason here is a heart rate belt as a gift. As it turns out years later, this honest card and gift brought an important life change.

My father (who at one time was part of the Estonian track and field running team by the way), had been living a meaningful, but also quite passive life as it is typical for many other middle-aged people. Today, as he is in great physical shape, I have wondered what caused this change in the beginning? Broadly speaking, it was a combination of objective data and social motivation (this is what YuMuuv is all about).

In this blog, I’m not going to focus on the details related to objective health data (it’s worth a separate post, and here are some I have already written). However, some important facts should make each of us think twice. For example:

  1. Since the turn of the century, there has been no positive change in people’s physical activity at the global level.
  2. Nearly a quarter of the world’s population is not active enough in their lifestyle (that passivity is directly harmful to their health).
  3. In welfare states, the number of passive people is double what it is for developing countries.

It can be concluded that if the whole world contributes to the growth of progress, then we are essentially contributing also to the deterioration of health at the same time?! While I certainly have at least the belief that a different narrative is possible, it requires joint and very conscious action. 

Speaking of social motivation here, I have noticed that there are three types of people:

  1. group – “does not need additional motivation” – these are people who can be seen outdoors even when it is raining or snowing. The behavioral habits of these people do not depend on others.
  2. group – “does not want additional motivation” – these are people who cannot be changed because they do not want it. An active lifestyle is something that cannot be forced.
  3. group – “does not find additional motivation” – these are people who would like to change, but for one reason or the other, it has not been applied to their rhythms of life.

It is this last group that is the largest, and I believe that companies can do something to advance this number of people towards an active lifestyle. For companies, 3 factors put them in a favourable position to advance employees health and activity:

  1. Contributions – companies have both financial and time resources. Often it is the people for whom mobility is not yet as high enough priority to contribute to those who can be addressed. A minimal bet can give a great result. In addition, I can often play an important role here with a person whose job includes keeping this topic up.
  2. Collectivity – people sometimes spend more time with their co-workers than with their families. This means that it is a clear collective with a common understanding and a common culture based on which to create social motivation.
  3. Consistency – In the case of a company, there is an opportunity to keep motivation consistently highlighted as a topic where it may be more volatile in certain other communities.

If you believe that you or someone in your company (who deals with these issues) would like more support from the YuMuuv team to inspire your people towards an active lifestyle, contact us and we will make a demo and come up with a plan together. Your effort can change someone’s life for decades.

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