The fitness industry has been implementing some fun gamification elements across different areas in the last few years. Companies are gathering data across apps and fitness trackers, using the combination of badges, competition and rewards, fitness companies such as Strava, Fitbit and Nike are motivating and increasing user engagement to build a healthier, more fun and connected community. In fact, using gamification within fitness became the number one trend in 2016 and 2017 according to the ACSM Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends.
Now to quickly recap, what is gamification and how can it be applied within fitness? Gamification is generally defined as “the process of adding game mechanics or game-like elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation.”
When used in a fitness context, gamification encourages greater participation in exercise and creates fun competition either with yourself, or others who are involved.
There are many fitness devices to choose from that can help you stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals, and as with all devices, one must be using them correctly to maximise all of the benefits.
The team at Gamify have identified and outlined three tips around maximising gamification in your fitness journey.
1) Set Goals & Objectives with Rewards
Most trackers that store your data either via your smartphone or on your wrist already have goal setting systems and metrics in place for any user to store their daily workouts, steps and calories burned. You can set daily, weekly or even monthly goals according to your own personal fitness goals, and have data that rewards you with badges once you achieve them.
An example of this is MYZONE. MYZONE uses Effort Points, or MEP’s that rewards efforts based on the duration and intensity of a user’s workout. Those who have access to MYZONE can set up monthly goals and track their progress. The more MEP points a user gains, the higher they go up in status.
For example, I know MYZONE uses Effort Points (or MEPs) that reward effort based on the intensity and duration of the user’s workout. Users set monthly MEP goals and can track their progress along the way. As they accumulate MEPs they move up in status, a reward based on consistency over time.
There are different ways to personally implement gamification on your own fitness journey. One of those ways is to set up your own personal reward system. Although there is already one on the app, you can set up your own personal ways of rewarding yourself with something meaningful when you hit certain achievements, and this will help your own personal motivation, leading to a higher chance of you sticking to your exercise routine.
Something as small as your favourite meal on the weekend after hitting your workout goals, or new workout goals every month after hitting a weight loss goal. Setting specific rewards for hitting specific goals will help you achieve the long term and the short term goals, as well as make it more fun along the way.
2) Look past the Numbers
Though hitting your steps and logging in a specific amount of time or miles a week can be motivating, you can also, without realising, put a lot of pressure on yourself and burn out quickly. It’s important to look past the data and see how this fitness journey is actually making you feel. We need to enjoy the journey and incorporate it into a healthy lifestyle, all while using gamification elements along the way.
Having data that is subjective along with objective goals will help you reach those goals even quicker. If we enjoy our workouts as well as hit our goals, research shows that we will be better off in the long run.
3) Create Community
Sharing fitness activities with friends and family is usually much more fun than going at it alone. Many apps and devices that help you reach your fitness goals and track data usually have some kind of community aspect integrated within it that helps create accountability and support.
Being part of a team that all have a common goal has shown to be much more effective than chasing after goals by yourself. There is power in the community, and it helps us stay more focused and consistent.
An example of this is Strava, which allows you to participate in fun fitness challenges such as “Run 5k”, monthly running, swimming, or racing challenges that all encourage you to push your fitness limits. There are also fun clubs to join, which help you stay motivated, and their layout is similar to that of Facebook and Instagram.
You can also post your daily workouts, lengths of distance, and times, and have your friends comment and “like” your posts to show encouragement and give kudos for all of your hard work. You can even connect with people in your area and community and exercise together, as well as follow others within the social network and be inspired by athletes all around the world.
Having this type of team element be gamified and integrated with your fitness routine and app will help take your fitness to a whole new level.
Those are three tips on how to maximize your fitness using gamification with fitness trackers. Most fitness apps and trackers should have these elements integrated into their systems, but you can always step it up a level personally and do things like reward yourself, set goals and hit them with your team and community, as well as ensure that you are actually enjoying your health and fitness journey. Whatever level of gamification you incorporate into your fitness journey, just be sure to have fun with it! If you would like more content, you can access it here.