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Physical Activity in the Digital Age: An Empirical Investigation into the Motivational Affordances of Online Fitness Communities

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... OFCs generally contain a broad range of features which can be aggregated into three feature categories: self-regulatory, social and gamification features (Stragier 2017). Through these features, OFCs enable a set of motivational 'affordances', more particularly self-regulatory and social affordances. ...
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Fitness wearables and apps provide users with quantified information about their exercise behavior. Users often access this information on Online Fitness Communities (OFCs) such as RunKeeper or Strava. These OFCs do not only provide feedback on the user’s performance, but also offer social features. To date, little is known about the extent to which the different features in OFCs answer to users’ motivations to exercise. This study addresses this question, by examining (1) whether there are differences in motivations for running between OFC users and non-users, and (2) whether the use of particular features is driven by particular running motivations. A survey study was conducted among 717 runners, of which 57% used an OFC to support running activities. Results demonstrate that OFC users are more achievement-oriented than non-OFC users, especially regarding the attainment of personal goals. OFC users with physical motivations (e.g., weight loss) use self-regulatory features more frequently, while runners with social motivations more often use features that afford them to share activities on social media. Achievement-oriented runners appreciate features that allow them to track their progress and interact with other OFC users. No relation was found between the use of OFC features and psychological motivations for running.
... OFCs generally contain a broad range of features which can be aggregated into three feature categories: self-regulatory, social and gamification features (Stragier 2017). Through these features, OFCs enable a set of motivational 'affordances', more particularly self-regulatory and social affordances. ...
Article
Full-text available
Fitness wearables and apps provide users with quantified information about their exercise behavior. Users often access this information on Online Fitness Communities (OFCs) such as RunKeeper or Strava. These OFCs do not only provide feedback on the user’s performance, but also offer social features. To date, little is known about the extent to which the different features in OFCs answer to users’ motivations to exercise. This study addresses this question, by examining (1) whether there are differences in motivations for running between OFC users and non-users, and (2) whether the use of particular features is driven by particular running motivations. A survey study was conducted among 717 runners, of which 57% used an OFC to support running activities. Results demonstrate that OFC users are more achievement-oriented than non-OFC users, especially regarding the attainment of personal goals. OFC users with physical motivations (e.g., weight loss) use self-regulatory features more frequently, while runners with social motivations more often use features that afford them to share activities on social media. Achievement-oriented runners appreciate features that allow them to track their progress and interact with other OFC users. No relation was found between the use of OFC features and psychological motivations for running.
... OFCs generally contain a broad range of features which can be aggregated into three feature categories: self-regu- latory, social and gamification features (Stragier 2017). Through these features, OFCs enable a set of motiva- tional 'affordances', more particularly self-regulatory and social affordances. ...
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I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
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Mobile and wearable technologies facilitate physiological data collection for health and wellness purposes. Users typically access these data via Online Fitness Community (OFC) platforms (e.g., Fitbit, Strava, RunKeeper). These platforms present users with functionalities centered on self-monitoring, social networking and enjoyment. In order to fully benefit from these functionalities, users need to make a habit out of integrating OFC use into their everyday workout routines. However, research suggests that users often fail to use OFCs over a longer period of time. This study sheds light on the factors that explain persisted OFC use. To that end, the study compares novice and experienced users in terms of their OFC use motives and how these motives contribute to the habitual integration of OFCs into everyday workout routines. Based on the survey responses of 394 OFC users, a multi-sample structural equation model indicates that self-regulatory and social motives directly predict habitual OFC use, and that enjoyment and self-regulatory motives indirectly predict habitual OFC use, by driving the perceived usefulness of OFCs. Moderation analysis revealed that, for novice users, self-regulatory motives are the prime drivers of habitual OFC use, while social motives and enjoyment are more important for experienced users.