Want someone to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Pay them.
A new Canadian study shows that small financial incentives, as low as $5 a week, increase the amount of exercise people do.
And in some cases, that extra pocket money can save lives.
"Our research shows that people who participate in cardiac rehab programs after experiencing a major heart event cut their risk of dying from another cardiac event by as a much as 50%," said Dr. Paul Oh, director of Toronto Rehab's Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, where the study was conducted.
"One of our concerns is there are people who need cardiac rehab, but are not receiving it or sticking with the program over the long term."
The money for the pilot program was donated by Cookson James Loyalty, an organization aimed at improving health outcomes.
Similar incentive-based programs have been successful elsewhere in North America, helping people quit smoking and lose weight.
"People's actions tend to serve their immediate self-interest at the expense of long-term well-being," lead author Marc Mitchell said.