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Proceeding Paper

The Role of Technology in Promoting Physical Activity: A Case-Study of parkrun †

1
The Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S9 3TU, UK
2
School of Health and Related Research, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DA, UK
3
The Centre for Sports Engineering Research, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S9 3TU, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 13th conference of the International Sports Engineering Association, Online, 22–26 June 2020.
Proceedings 2020, 49(1), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2020049080
Published: 15 June 2020
Around a third of people worldwide are physically inactive, causing 3.2 million deaths each year. People often use wearables and smartphone trackers to motivate them to be active, but there is evidence to show that use of these trackers declines quickly, often within weeks. One intervention that appears to successfully motivate people to be active is parkrun, a free, weekly timed 5 km run or walk every Saturday morning. The system used by parkrun is surprisingly low-tech: it uses printable barcodes, stopwatches and scanners, and the internet. A survey of 60,694 parkrun participants showed that levels of self-reported physical activity increased following participation in parkrun, especially for those with previously low levels of activity. Nine out of ten reported feeling a sense of personal achievement and improvements to fitness and physical health since starting parkrun. Based on a taxonomy of behaviour change interventions, the technology used by parkrun was shown to incorporate at least seven techniques that inform and encourage parkrunners. It is concluded that physical activity technologies should not be central to an intervention, rather, they should enhance interventions where behaviour change takes precedence.
Keywords: technology; behavior change; running; physical inactivity; health impact technology; behavior change; running; physical inactivity; health impact
MDPI and ACS Style

Haake, S.; Quirk, H.; Bullas, A. The Role of Technology in Promoting Physical Activity: A Case-Study of parkrun. Proceedings 2020, 49, 80. https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2020049080

AMA Style

Haake S, Quirk H, Bullas A. The Role of Technology in Promoting Physical Activity: A Case-Study of parkrun. Proceedings. 2020; 49(1):80. https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2020049080

Chicago/Turabian Style

Haake, Steve, Helen Quirk, and Alice Bullas. 2020. "The Role of Technology in Promoting Physical Activity: A Case-Study of parkrun" Proceedings 49, no. 1: 80. https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2020049080

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