Preliminary Conference Agenda


Completed Papers 5: Data Science and Analytics
Time: 23/Mar/2017: 3:30pm-5:00pm · Location: Wuchang Hall

Let's Workout! Exploring Social Exercise in an Online Fitness Community

Li Zeng1, Zack W. Almquist2, Emma S. Spiro1

1University of Washington, United States of America; 2University of Minnesota, United States of America

Increasing attention has been paid to promoting certain healthy habits through social interaction in online fitness communities. At the intersection of social media and activity tracking applications, these platforms capture information on physical activities and peer-to-peer interactions. Importantly, they also offer researchers a novel opportunity to understand health behaviors by utilizing the large-scale behavioral trace data they archive. In this study we explore the characteristics and dynamics of social exercise (i.e. exercise activities with at least one peer physically co-present) using data collected from an online fitness community popular with cyclists and runners. In particular, we ask if factors such as temporal seasonality, activity performance and social feedback vary by the number of people participating in an activity; we do so comparing associations for both men and women. Our results indicate that when peers are physically present for fitness activities (i.e. group workouts), exercise tends to be more intense and receive more feedback from other users, across both genders. These results have important implications for health and wellness interventions.