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We all know that it is good for us to be active but the motivation is often lacking. Some of us try to motivate ourselves by downloading apps on our smartphones as a reminder to stay active, this trick does not usually last very long. In fact, only 20% of Dutch adults manage to exercise 20 minutes or more, three times a week. The BAMBEA project ( Bewegen in Amsterdam met Beacons / Exercise in Amsterdam with Beacons), investigates how beacons can be used to motivate adults to be active.

Compared to rural areas, health standards are worse and life expectancy is shorter in cities. This is partly caused by the lower physical activity level of urban residents. The apps available to stimulate people to be more active work to some extent, they lack proper scientific foundation. Without that foundation, it is impossible to know what feedback the app should be sending to the users at what time.

How can people be motivated to develop a healthy exercise habit and be encouraged to carry on these habits? The BAMBEA app is created around the theory of evolutionary behaviour keeping this question in mind. The app is tested in our ‘living lab’: the Oosterpark. Residents with average exercise levels have tried out the app for a period of 10 weeks. Their performance level was measured and they were given motivational messages during their workout.

10 people tested the app for 10 weeks. Based on user feedback, the app’s design, functionality and terminology have been improved.
Next step
The BAMBEA project will be followed by the PAUL project, which runs from 2017 to 2020. As part of this project, the app will be developed further. Knowledge from big data will be included, and the app’s content will be focused more on the individual user.
Do you want to be motivated during your workout? Take part in the next test phase of the app. Send an email to Nicky Nibbeling, lecturer/researcher at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.
To develop an app that distinguishes itself from other exercise apps in three areas:
  1. The content of the app is based on scientific research;
  2. Interaction between the environment and the user, for example, with beacons (including personalised feedback);
  3. The target group are users who are inactive to moderately active.
Nicky Nibbeling
Partners involved in this project:
University of Amsterdam / Federal University of Sao Paulo / Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences / Utrecht University / Federal University of São Carlos / / Glimworm  / ZappYou / Municipality of Amsterdam
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences