Here's an incentive that really makes people exercise more

Story highlights

  • Financial incentives for exercise have become popular in workplaces
  • Taking money away from employees failing to reach goals proved to be effective

(CNN)Companies that want their employees to exercise more might want to skip the promise of prizes or pats on the back. Instead, a new study shows, giving someone a financial incentive and then threatening to take it away might work better.

Workplace wellness programs are gaining popularity, and more than 80% of large employers are now using some form of financial incentive to increase physical activity, according a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than half of adults in the United States do not reach the minimum recommended level of physical activity to see benefits to their health.
The study gave 281 people a 7,000 step-a-day goal that they were to keep up during a 13-week challenge. Researchers tested three financial incentive designs.