Study: Exercise apps' features connect users

The support of others is essential for people to stay motivated while working out, so social networks now try to use programs and applications to connect users while they exercise.

A study by Johns Hopkins University and the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, looked at 13 websites to see what features they offer to help users interact with others, known as physical activity partners, in order to increase physical activity. The study findings were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The researchers looked at 12 different features on each site, which included physical activity creation, private messaging, and integration with Facebook and Twitter, among others. However, they found that none of the sites included all 12 of the features. In looking at what features sites did offer, it gave evidence to which ones are most effective and most important to users.

Researchers say their findings showed social networks connect users to activity partners, but more analysis is needed to see how people use features offered by the websites and how "truly helpful they are." Study