When promoting exercise participation to patients, research suggests that clinicians should focus on patient motivators, behaviours and goals as opposed to the medical or health benefits of exercise. A recently published EIM article titled “From Vital sign to vitality: Selling Exercise so patients want to buy it” explores the downfalls of clinicians promoting exercise in terms of medical benefits, such as lowered blood pressure or chronic condition improvement, which may not represent an enticing hook for patients.
When looking at consumer behaviour, from a business point of view, often emotions and immediate benefits of purchasing a product are significant in influencing consumer habits. In terms of selling exercise, the article gives insight into useful strategies that clinicians can use to promote the EIM message in a patient-centred way. Examples include focusing on immediate benefits such as the experience of feelings including relaxation, happiness and vitality. This is opposed to selling the medical or health benefits of exercise which may not occur until weeks or months down the track.
It is time to consider how patient physical activity promotion, prescription and counselling can evolve to better reflect behavioural science and be sold differently so that patients want to buy it.
Other EIM tools which may help to promote exercise specific to individual motivators and goals include the EIM Action Guide and the Stage of Change Assessment Tool.
Segar, M. L., et. al., (2016). From vital sign to vitality: Selling exercise so patients want to buy it. Translational Journal of the ACSM 1(11)