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A new US study examined the effectiveness of different regimens programs designed to encourage daily exercise.

The study results indicated that participants were more willing to exercise if they faced the prospect of losing money rather than gaining.

The experiment consisted of 281 people that were to follow different exercise programs during 13 weeks. All programs were deemed a success if the participants reached the goal of 7,000 steps per day.

The difference though was that one group of participants received money each time they reached the target, and the other group lost money each time they didn’t achieve the target goal.

It was shown that punishment for failing to reach the target was much more efficient than a reward for achieving the target. The participants who were penalized for failing had 50 percent more days in which they reached the exercise goal.

Reference: Mitesh S. Patel et al. Framing Financial Incentives two Increase Physical Activity Among Overweight and Obese Adults. A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Doi: 10.7326 / M15-1635