Perhaps you’ve resolved to exercise in the new year, but have failed to get a good routine down because it wasn’t any fun. While exercise will always take work, you can add a little more enjoyment by turning your experience into a game.
Use Incentive-Based Trackers
Most gamification tools make exercise more fun by creating an incentive-based rewards system, offering you points or badges or something else along those lines to make you want to do more work. One of our favorites is Fitocracy, which focuses not only on exercise but diet. You don’t have to play alone, either. You can compete with others on the site as well. If you prefer going solo and enjoy 8-bit graphics, HabitRPG offers a flexible alternative. You can use it to bug you to do and reward you for pretty much anything you want to make a habit.
You don’t have to use a service to get incentivize your workouts. Good habits are built with a cue-routine-reward system, so you just need to make a game that follows that structure. The cue can be whatever you want, so long as it stays consistent and tells you that you need to exercise. Perhaps it’s a time of day or an event or something more elaborate. It doesn’t really matter. The routine, of course, is the exercise you do. You can just run, or perform a more complex full-body workout.
The reward system is where you need to get creative. Award yourself points, badges, gold stars, or whatever else for your performance. If running, you could give yourself points for both time and distance. When you get a certain number of points, you level up or get a cookie or get to play video games. This is a simple idea, but it can help make the process more fun. You know you best, so choose a rewards strategy that will make you regularly happy.
Compete With Friends
It’s tough to get in shape alone. Exercise is much easier to maintain with a buddy. On the days you don’t want to exercise, they’ll help encourage you. On the days they don’t want to, you’ll do the same for them. That partnership can help you stick with a program when you hit plateaus and lose motivation. You can also turn it into a game with a little friendly competition.
Each workout can have a set of challenges that you both try to achieve. You can either complete them together and each earn points for your work or compete against each other and award points based on performance. How you want to do this will depend on each of your personalities. Some people thrive on competition and others wind up discouraged by it. Make sure you choose wisely and appropriately, or the challenge could end up backfiring.
Actually Play a Game
There are ways you can exercise and play an actual game at the same time. Not many, mind you, but some. First is one of our favorites: Zombies, Run! This game turns running into a fight for your life during a zombie apocalypse. You just open the app on your smartphone, put in your favorite headphones, and run like hell. The soundtrack will keep you updated on the story, letting you know if the zombies are gaining on you. You’ll also collect tools and complete tasks along the way, hoping to guarantee your safety.
Alternatively, you can play any video game of your choice—while biking, of course. Exercise bikes don’t cost very much so you can pick up just about any one you like for $ 100-150 and plop it in front of the TV. Alternatively, if you want a bike designed for this purpose, check out the FitDesk. You can even work while biking if you really need to get things done instead of play. Either way, it doesn’t take much to hold a controller when you’re really just moving your legs. You could probably get away with it on a treadmill, too, but that’s not quite as safe.
If you want to learn more about gamification and how you can apply it to other parts of your life, check out this guide.
Have a happy Friday and a great weekend!