The Checkup: New Marketing Strategy for Exercise: Sell Rewards

Research shows that future payoffs don't help motivate people to exercise. We need to sell the immediate rewards.

• Maybe this is why lots of people hate exercising: We’ve been selling it wrong for all these years. The New York Times has an interesting piece this week on the marketing—or, rather, mis-marketing—of health and exercise, with one researcher arguing that you have to highlight immediate rewards (better quality of life now) instead of future payoffs (improved health, trimmer body down the road). I like this quote by researcher Michelle L. Segar: “Physical activity is an elixir of life, but we’re not teaching people that. We’re telling them it’s a pill to take or a punishment for bad numbers on the scale. Sustaining physical activity is a motivational and emotional issue, not a medical one.” What do you think? Is the key to getting your husband or girlfriend or mom or dad to exercise simply to sell it better? Or is there more to it than semantics?

• Diet tip: Don’t eat dinner at a dance club. Or Chuck E. Cheese’s, for that matter. New research shows that softer music and lighting may help you eat less.

• Load up on chocolate, guys. A new study found that chocolate may help lower stroke risk in men.