Help Those Who Need a Nudge!

November 24, 2014 (old blog)

We know from various behavior change theories that planning and executing health behaviors are often far some simple; for a behavior to be successfully executed, a number of elements likely need to be present (e.g., perceived benefits > perceived risks).

Let’s take the Health Belief Model for example. One powerful predictor that may impede the execution of a behavior is perceived barriers – in other words, individuals perceive too many challenges they will have to overcome in order to perform the behavior.

I applied this model to a recent experience. Although I prefer individual, unstructured activities, this weekend I decided to participate in an organized multi-player sport – a step out of my comfort zone (x1000). At the point of packing my gym bag I had already perceived a number of barriers – weather, parking, fear of embarrassment, but nevertheless I made it to the gym. Just when I thought I had overcome the ongoing list of challenges(/fears), I met another roadblock when I rented equipment from the sports equipment desk; my questions about necessary equipment and access to the facilities were met with frustration from the staff.

This got me thinking; in the current day-and-age where physical activity is not a top priority for most, if you are in a position to facilitate individuals and help them break down barriers, then try to do so! This point is particularly relevant for parents who may already face an insurmountable number of challenges and may just need that nudge and encouragement to help them and their families get active!

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