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Several studies have shown that working out with someone on a slightly more advanced level than us can be good motivation, while Canadian researchers say that seeing someone suffer through a workout can kill your motivation.
But can a virtual gym buddy help you stick to exercise?
In this study published in Games for Health Journal, participants were asked to perform a series of plank exercises; first alone, then randomly assigned to do them again with a virtual but realistic human partner; a human- like, humanoid partner; a hardly human-like, software-generated partner; or alone. Factors such as exercise persistence, perceived exertion, self-efficacy beliefs, enjoyment, and intentions to exercise were taken into consideration.
The most motivating was the realistic human partner, but the less realistic partners were also more motivating than exercising alone.