Modifying Exercise Habits Through Positive Reinforcement of Self-Control

1849 Words Apr 2nd, 2012 8 Pages
Modifying Exercise Habits through Positive Reinforcement
In today’s modern society, technology plays a central role in the lives of most people. In the past, people enjoyed healthy, active lifestyles; however, the increasing dependence and reinforcement we receive from using technology has negatively impacted on the amount of time we spend active. (Epstein, Roemmich, Robinson, Pauluch, Winiewicz, Fuerch, & Robinson, 2008; Epstein, Roemmich, Saad, & Handley, 2004). According to behavioural economic theory, in order to successfully increase time spent exercising; time spent on the undesirable behaviour should be substituted with the more desirable behaviour. (Epstein, Saelens, & O’Brien, 1995)
There are many long term health benefits from
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I then began the program. On the first week of the program, I improved the duration of the workouts, pushing myself to achieve the minimum 30mins so I could play the game. I successfully completed 30mins and the 3 day minimum in the first week of the program, with the average being 41mins. In the second week, I improved on the first week of the program, with the average being increased to 49mins per session. As hypothesised, I achieved all my targets during both weeks of the program, so I was able to reinforce myself and play my game after each session, and I went out with my friends on the weekends.
Graph 1

Graph 1 – Length of exercise sessions over the 4 week period. On the left is the baseline, compared with the right side - when the program was implemented. Sessions over 30mins were rewarded through reinforcement.
Discussion
The findings of the study support the hypothesis that reinforcement is effective in modifying exercise behaviours, and increasing self-control in an area. The effectiveness of the reinforcer is evident in the results of the program - the length of exercise sessions increased during the program, as well as the number of sessions per week. The consequence of being able to play my computer game after successfully completing a session was enough incentive to increase my exercise substantially. These results support the findings of Dixon and Tibbetts (2009) , Birkimer and Bledsoe (1999), and

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