UBC Undergraduate Research

Strategies and Recommendations for Increasing Engagement in BodyWorks Chun, Allison; Ignacio, Anne; Stewart, Christina; Ihekwoaba, Miselta


BodyWorks is an exercise outreach program provided by the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia (University of British Columbia, 2020). While targeting staff members that are slowly returning to campus to teach, BodyWorks can cater their programs to these staff members while simultaneously increasing their clientele. The literature review that investigated the effectiveness of certain advertisement strategies, positional differences of university staff towards exercise programs, and exercise behaviours during the pandemic. The review provided foundational understanding of previous data that had already been gathered relevant to the current study. The literature review also led to our main research question: How can BodyWorks modify current offerings, advertisements, and communications to suit the needs of potential clients? BodyWorks stated their potential clients were 40-60 year old UBC staff or faculty members who have a risk factor for a chronic illness. By using a cross sectional, non-experimental, and mixed methods research design, a survey was designed with a mixture of both open and closed ended questions. The purpose of the survey was to obtain staff, faculty, and employee opinions towards BodyWorks’ current advertising methods, effects of COVID-19 on physical activity, barriers experienced and needs of UBC employees that affect not only exercise participation but also BodyWorks participation, and how BodyWorks can further cater to the individual needs of the UBC community. Some of the key findings from the results include 61.54% of respondents reported that they have not seen any campus advertisements that have encouraged them to exercise, and 61.54% of respondents have not heard of BodyWorks before. Other important results detail the main reasons for engaging in physical activity including improved physical and mental health, and for enjoyment/leisure, while noteworthy barriers for exercise include lack of a gym in the vicinity of their office and a lack of time. These results led to three recommendations to BodyWorks: 1) Advertising Strategies: Not only for more BodyWorks programming advertisements overall, but tailoring the advertisements to appeal to the target population by using different types of multimedia to distribute the advertisements, and changing up the language and images used to include the younger demographic. 2) Addressing Perceptions: Previous misconceptions have labelled BodyWorks as “too structured,” “serious,” and “for the aging community.” By spreading awareness about the programs suitable for middle-aged participants, especially those with less rigid programming, a change in the preconceived assumptions of BodyWorks is expected. Also, creating a physical environment that is warm and welcoming will help to attract new potential members. 3) Increasing Accessibility: This can be done through two methods: Flexible scheduling: The target age group of this survey was for 40-60 year olds, all of whom are still in the workforce (must work on campus to meet inclusion criteria), therefore, more program slots should be available before and after normal working hours (9-5pm). Next, Website Layout: As the BodyWorks website is the main method of providing information to the general public, the user interface should be improved for ease of use by enlarging font size, providing inclusive imaging, and improving general organization of the website. With these recommendations in mind, we hope that our developed recommendations will be considered and evaluated by BodyWorks to implement concrete changes to different aspects of their business model to increase clientele. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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