GetAMoveOn: transforming health through enabling mobility

Diagram of person being motivated by carrot

The GetAMoveOn Network+ was funded by the EPSRC (EP/N027299/1) and ran from June 2016 to May 31st 2021. It brought together an interdisciplinary community of researchers and practitioners: human computer interaction, health psychology, behaviour change, sensor networks, data analytics, interactive visualisation, sports and exercise science, and citizen engagement.

Professor Anna Cox, UCL (PI)
Professor Ann Blandford, UCL (CoI)
Professor Ian Craddock, Bristol (CoI)
Professor m.c. Schraefel, Southampton (CoI)
Professor Lucy Yardley, Southampton (CoI)

Our purpose was to address the EPSRC Grand Challenge of "Transforming community health and care through the delivery of tested technologies that promote wellbeing by providing timely, individualised feedback that encourage appropriate physical activities".

The aim of the project was to transform health through enabling mobility with the help of digital technologies, focusing on three target communities: older adults, office workers, school children.

The GetAMoveOn Network+ work programme included creating and growing an inter-disciplinary network of researchers and practitioners; agenda-setting through an initial set of 'thinkpieces' and a symposium in our first year; capacity building through the GetAMoveOn Fellows programme, seminars and workshops; and pump-priming research through feasibility grants to advance the design and development of innovative technologies to get people moving more.


  • Thinkpieces and symposium outputs
  1. Thinkpieces

A Scoping Review of Exertion Game Research in 2017 Joe Marshall, University of Nottingham, Conor Linehan, University College Cork

Designing for Agency and Compassion - Critical Reflections on Technology to Support Physical Activity in Late Life Kathrin Gerling, University of Lincoln, Mo Ray, University of Lincoln, Adam B. Evans, University of Copenhagen

A review of physical-activity tracking technologies and how to assess their effectiveness Daniel Harrison, Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze and Paul Marshall, University College London

When wearable devices fail - towards an improved understanding of what makes a successful wearable intervention Dr David A. Ellis, Lancaster University, Dr Lukasz Piwek, University of Bath

Going beyond motivation! A framework for the design of technology for supporting physical activity where mobility is restricted Aneesha Singh, UCL, Ana Tajadura-Jimenéz, UCL, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Anna Roberts, UCL, Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze, UCL, Amanda CdeC Williams, UCL

Exploring the Relevance of Social Practice Theory to Inform the Design of Technologies for Supporting More Physical Activity in Everyday Life Hadiza Ismaila, University College London, Ann Blandford, University College London, Edward Fottrell, University College London

Sedentary Behaviour and Physical Activity Interventions in Older Adults using Digital Technologies with Special Emphasis on Just-In-Time Adaptive Interventions - JITAIs Andre Matthias Müller, University of Southampton; Ian Craddock, University of Bristol; Ann Blandford, University College London; Leanne Morrison, University of Southampton; Lucy Yardley, University of Southampton and University of Oxford

  1. Journal papers linked to Thinkpieces

Ellis, D. A. and Piwek, L. (2018). Failing to encourage physical activity with wearable technology: what next? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 111, (9), 310-313 Associated Altimetric score This paper is in the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric

Matthias Müller A, Blandford A, Yardley L (2017) The conceptualization of a Just-In-Time Adaptive Intervention (JITAI for the reduction of sedentary behavior in older adults) M Health 3 (9)

Kathrin Gerling, Mo Ray, Vero Vanden Abeele, Adam B. Evans (2020) Critical Reflections on Technology to Support Physical Activity among Older Adults: An Exploration of Leading HCI Venues ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing April 2020 Article No.: 1

  1. Other symposium outputs

Symposium 2017 proceedings with abstracts of all the presentations.
Symposium workshop report

  • Feasibility project reports

Creating a mobile application co-designed by football fans to promote physical activity and active travel specifically among middle-aged men. John Rooksby, Marta Cecchinato, Parvin Asadzadeh (Northumbria University); Christopher Bunn (University of Glasgow); Project partner: European Healthy Stadia Network CIC

Exploring the effect of an intervention on families using an intelligent personal system to deliver behaviour change techniques, compared to non-technology based delivery. Angela Carlin, Caomhan Logue, Alison Gallagher, Marie Murphy (Ulster University); Project Partner: The Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre (OLT)

Rise and Recharge! An app to individualise the suggestion of when to stand up. Melitta McNarry, Kelly Mackintosh (Swansea University); David Dunstan, Paddy Dempsey, Neville Owen (Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute)

Investigating the effectiveness of providing phone messages to older adults in urban Bangladesh to encourage them to engage in physical activity. Hannah Jennings, Edwart Fottrell (University College London); Kishwar Azad, A. K. Azad Khan, Kohenour Akter, Sanjit Kumar Shaha (Diabetic Association of Bangladesh)

Assessing and improving the mobility of wheelchair users: a mobility tracker for wheelchair users which treats wheelchair and user as a single system. Ildar Farkhatdinov, Dylan Morrissey, Kaspar Althoefer, Stuart Millar (Queen Mary University of London, QMUL)

Artificial Intelligence Conversational Intervention for Encouraging Physical Activity in Older Adults Nirmali Wiratunga, Kay Cooper, Stewart Massie (Robert Gordon University); Ehud Reiter (University of Aberdeen); David Sim (Openbrolly)

Improving adult health using real reward nudges through a gamification system Dr Kirk Plangger, Prof Ko de Ruyter, Dr Sotiris Vandoros, Freddie Dean (King's College London); Dr Colin Campbell (University of San Diego); Dr Karen Robson (University of Windsor); Mr Marcile Moulene (HiMotiv)

Development and Validation of an Intensity & Domain Specific Online Physical Activity Assessment and Feedback Tool for Older Adults Dr Max Western (University of Bath); Dr Rosie Essery, Dr Katherine Bradbury (University of Southampton); Professor Nanette Mutrie (University of Edinburgh)

  • Journal and conference papers linked to feasibility projects

Carlin A, Logue C, Flynn J, Murphy MH, Gallagher AM (2021) Development and Feasibility of a Family-Based Health Behavior Intervention Using Intelligent Personal Assistants: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Formative Research. 2021 Jan;5(1):e17501. DOI: 10.2196/17501.

Morris, Abigail S.; Mackintosh, Kelly A.; Dunstan, David; Owen, Neville; Dempsey, Paddy; Pennington, Thomas; McNarry, Melitta A. (2020) "Rise and Recharge: Effects on Activity Outcomes of an e-Health Smartphone Intervention to Reduce Office Workers' Sitting Time" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 24: 9300.

Essery R et al (2020) Development of the Digital Assessment of Precise Physical Activity DAPPA Tool for Older Adults Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7949 Rosie Essery, James Denison-Day, Elisabeth Grey, Emma Priestley, Katherine Bradbury, Nanette Mutrie and Max J. Western.

Kirk Plangger, Colin Campbell, Karen Robson, Matteo Montecchi (2019) Little rewards, big changes: Using exercise analytics to motivate sustainable changes in physical activity Information & Management,2019

John Rooksby, Marta Cecchinato, Parvin Asadzadeh, Christopher Bunn (2020) DIS 20 conference paper Design Opportunities for Digital Men's Health: An Exploratory Study Focusing on Football Fandom

  • Workshop reports

Behaviour change interventions to address sedentarism in different communities

Report on the Research Challenges Workshop

  • Policy briefings

Better health for all: the role for digital technologies to help people move more and stay healthier for longer

The government's green paper published in July 2019 Advancing our Health : prevention in the 2020s sets out the government's strategy for putting health prevention and digitally-enabled services at the heart of healthcare. This is our response. In this briefing document Enabling better health for all: the role for digital technologies to help people move more and stay healthier for longer we:
• Outline the central role played by physical activity in primary prevention of a wide range of chronic health conditions and as a tool for achieving the government's objective of 'better health for all'.
• Demonstrate some of the ways in which technology can successfully support physical activity.
• Identify the features and characteristics that make interventions effective and provide guidance for commissioners, service providers, clinicians and social prescribing link-workers.

  • Written evidence submitted to Parliament

Written evidence to UK Parliament: The Impact of Coronavirus on Business and Workers (August 2020)
Submitted to the UK Parliamentary Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, in response to the evidence call, "The impact of coronavirus on businesses and workers" August 2020.
Written evidence submitted in collaboration with the eWorkliferesearch group Professor Anna L Cox a, Dr Sandy JJ Gould b, Dr Marta Cecchinato c, Dr Joseph Newbold c, Dr Anna Rudnicka a, and David Cook a to the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee Inquiry: Living online: The long-term impact on wellbeing, which addressed the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on people's wellbeing, including physical activity.

a University College London
b University of Birmingham
c Northumbria University

The lockdown instituted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic forced many people in the UK to work from home (remotely). Adapting to remote work and developing effective remote work habits takes time; however, many people had to shift from offices to homes abruptly. Our research shows that these neophyte remote workers experience many challenges.

It is likely that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic many workers will not return to offices in the foreseeable future and will continue working remotely whilst others will alternate between office and home. In light of this, employers and policymakers need to provide the right support for these workers to protect their wellbeing and productivity and avoid potential ill health or burnout.

Written evidence submitted in to the UK Parliament Lords' Select Committee COVID-19 Committee Inquiry, "Living online: the long-term impact on wellbeing".

Submitted in collaboration with the eWorklife research group: Professor Anna L Cox a, Dr Sandy JJ Gould b, Dr Marta Cecchinato c, Dr Joseph Newbold c, Dr Anna Rudnicka a, and David Cook a to the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee Inquiry: Living online : The long-term impact on wellbeing

a University College London
b University of Birmingham
c Northumbria University

Between 20th April 2020 and 24th September 2020, we surveyed 426 individuals who started working from home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We also conducted 25 follow-up interviews. This helped us achieve an in-depth understanding of the challenges that new home workers are experiencing, and the impact that this has on workers' wellbeing.

We found that working from home differs from working in the office in many respects that have the potential to affect workers' physical and mental health. The issues arising are unlikely to be solved solely on the part of the workers and require urgent attention and support from employers and policymakers. Therefore, we are responding to the Committee's call for evidence and responding to questions outlined in the 'Work' section in the Terms of Reference.

Written evidence submitted to the Lords Select Committee Inquiry: A National Plan for Sport and Recreation (January 2021)

The aim of the GetAMoveOn Network+ was to enhance understanding of how digital technologies and technology-based interventions can help people to lead more active lives. The findings of some of the research we funded were particularly relevant to the Committee's desire to understand how adults of all ages and background can be encouraged to lead more active lifestyles, and to see examples of success stories and good practice. We therefore responded to Question 3 in the Committee's Call for Written Evidence: How can adults of all ages and backgrounds, particularly those from under-represented groups, including women and girls, ethnic minorities, disabled people, older people, and those from less affluent backgrounds, be encouraged to lead more active lifestyles? This is our response: Written evidence to the Lords' Select Committee Inquiry A National Plan for Sport and Recreation.

Deep Dive Series
A series of 5 blog posts: debates and discussions from our 2019 Policy Dialogue

GetAMoveOn hosted a Policy Dialogue breakout session at the ukactive National Summit on October 31, 2019, attended by a wide range of delegates with an interest in promoting physical activity - from policy-makers, commissioners and service providers, to physical activity practitioners, clinicians and business leaders. Our aim was to stimulate discussion and the exchange of knowledge, ideas and perspectives on the role of physical activity in helping to prevent ill health, including the particular role that digital technologies can play in getting people moving more. Our GetAMoveOn Fellows and lead investigators from some of the research projects we have funded also presented their research and discussed the practical implications with delegates.

Deep Dive 1. What really motivates people to be more active?
Deep Dive 2. Should we really be trying to get everyone to do the recommended amounts of physical activity?
Deep Dive 3. Are technology-enabled physical activity programmes suitable for older people?
Deep Dive 4. Should we just give everyone an activity tracker? Would that do the trick?
Deep Dive References

Other outputs

Addressing problems resulting from transition to remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
Living online, the long-term impact on wellbeing

The GetAMoveOn Fellows programme

The GetAMoveOn Fellows' Programme was a professional development programme for a of 10 PhD students, post-docs and other early career researchers, who each won a place on the 12 month programme following our call for nominations.

You can read a review of the programme and what we learned from running it.

As part of the programme, the Fellows worked on small research projects in interdisciplinary teams. You can read their reports:

Exercise Snacking Project
Digital Behaviour Change project
Activity Trackers. Can they help people living with and beyond cancer
build habits?