Sweet prize for exercise
SCIENTISTS may have found the ultimate way to helping even the laziest among us reach their sweet spot when it comes to exercise – rewarding them with chocolate.
And the more they move, the better the sweet treat they receive at the end of it.
In a world- first, RMIT University researchers will give people a 3D printer connected to a heart monitor that creates chocolate treats.
If they meet their activity benchmarks, the machines will print chocolate emoticons and motivational messages to see if it spurs them on to work out even harder.
Not only will the messages be linked to their performance, the more they exercise, the smoother or thicker the chocolate will become.
RMIT Exertion Games Lab’s Mr Rohit Ashok Khot said wearable devices, such as heart rate monitors and pedometers, were becoming increasingly popular among people keen to monitor their physical activity.
“Most of this data gets transformed into data or a graph on a screen, which might be good for an athlete who is training for a big event but for the average person, this data may seem overwhelming and they may be more motivated by a visual representation that cheers them up and tells them that they have done a good job,” he said.
As part of his trial, participants will wear heart rate monitors that measure their physical exertion and the data is fed into the printer, which turns the information into visual representations of their performance.
“If the user was active, it will print out a smiley face made from chocolate but if they sat all day and had a low heart rate then a frowny face will be printed.”
Other items that are printed are “well done mate” or “U rock” or, if the participants did not perform well, they may receive a message encouraging them to give it another go tomorrow.
“Using chocolate to represent physical activity data can offer a multisensory experience combining vision, touch, smell and taste, which in turn could support new ways of engaging in physical activity,” Mr Khot said.
He said while some may argue against using a food with a high calorie and sugar content for the study, it was picked because of its association with high and positive emotions. It would be interesting to see if the participants ate the chocolate or shared it with others. And to ensure the participants are not consuming too many extra calories, they are limiting people to a total intake of 30ml a day.
SWEET TREAT: Oxana Serova tries exercise with chocolate for motivation.