Written by Jane Wang, CEO Optimity
(6 min read)
Findings Demonstrate Ways to Increase Physical Activity Among Customers
The importance of an active lifestyle for an individual’s health has been well documented. Seven of the 10 most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity. Furthermore, lack of physical activity is linked to approximately $117 billion in annual health care costs.
Studies show adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity each week, in sessions of ten minutes or more.
But achieving that level of activity has proven to be easier said than done. People have limited time, and often, exercise gets thrown to the side amidst other competing priorities. More and more, brands are building their platforms to help make exercise more fun and achievable. The question is, is yours?
At Optimity, we help insurers support their policyholders in being healthier, wealthier and happier. Earlier this year, we published our 2021 Consumer Insights Report, which showed a high success rate in helping users achieve greater levels of exercise by challenging them to increase their activity. The top healthy goal of our users for 2021 was to exercise more (18.7%) and there’s a significant opportunity for brands to help their community make that a habit. So What Do I Do?
The State of Physical Activity Today
Achieving the recommended amount of aerobic physical activity each week has always been closely tied with developing strong, repeatable habits. Research has found that people are more likely to keep up with a habit, such as exercise, if they do it every day — even if it’s small. For instance, a 15-minute brisk walk a day is more likely to become a habit than going to the gym a few times a week. If you miss a day or two at the gym, it can quickly fall out of habit.
Making things more challenging, COVID-19 has uprooted many people’s daily schedules. In some cases, the pandemic has made habits hard or impossible to keep up with. Gyms shut down. Adult rec leagues were cancelled. And the increase in remote working has led to more sedentary lifestyles.
Of the more than 135,000 users in our Consumer Report, 25.2% reported that they’re now working from home. With a return to office delayed, if not forever gone for some, this new lifestyle is likely here for the long term.
While Optimity users are a fairly active community, with 62.2% already exercising for at least 60 minutes each week, individuals need to find new ways to make physical activity a part of their daily lives.
How Insurers Can Help Policyholders Achieve Greater Levels of Physical Activity
As part of our study, we challenged our users with a goal of walking five more minutes a week. What we found is 79.2% of users walked for more than their allotted time, giving credence to the idea that getting started with a new habit is more challenging than continuing one.
For those who reporting the challenges they face when trying to become more physically active, a lack of motivation was the No. 1 barrier. Below is a snapshot of how users said they’d like to overcome a lack of motivation and other challenges.
Overall, it’s clear from our research that users have a desire to exercise more, and when challenged, they followed through. Leveraging the Optimity platform, insurers can create an experience that not only encourages your policyholders to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity but can also help identify life events and risk profile for accelerated underwriting and pre-approved targeted offers.
Remote work, even post pandemic, is here to stay. Incorporating a user experience that improves morbidity, mortality, and persistency can separate your brand and build customer loyalty.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Optimity can help you build this into your customer journey, visit our policyholder engagement page. For additional findings on physical activity, mental health, financial quality of life and healthier eating, download our Consumer Insights Report “The New Keys to Customer Connection”.