Published October 16, 2012
It can be hard to work up the motivation to exercise, but there’s a host of apps that make working out more rewarding than just a more toned body and a healthy heart.
Mobile apps that give people rewards like cash or discounts every time they exercise are cropping up for all levels of gym goers. The programs are similar to airline loyalty programs and can provide an extra incentive to hit the gym and save money on your next purchase.
Nexercise is a free app that tracks your daily activities and rewards them with discounts on merchandise. You accumulate points based on the length and type of workout or activity. The more points you accrue the better chance you have of winning prizes like coupons and gift cards. Activities that count toward rewards aren’t only those done in a gym, for instance, cleaning the house will gain you points and virtual medals as well. The app uses the motion of the iPhone to confirm you actually engaged in some sort of physical activity.
Sometimes it takes a little motivation to hop on a bike or treadmill, and HealthyRally is ready to help assemble your cheering squad. The app is a way for friends and family to motivate one another to reach their health-related goals.
It works like this: friends or family inspire someone to reach a goal by “rallying” around the person and pledging a reward if the goal is reached. Supporters chip in money toward the reward which can be anything from a day at the spa, a new iPad or a charity. According to the company, advances in behavioral economics show that money can triple the chances of someone reaching a health goal.
Aimed at people with iPhones or iPads, the GymPact app makes you put your money where your mouth is—or where your feet aren’t. The app makes you commit how many days a week you plan to exercise and how much you’ll pay if you don’t go. There’s a $5 minimum hit per missed day with the app, and you check in once you are at your work-out location. The app will confirm your location via GPS.
If you meet your commitment, you get cash rewards for each day paid by those that didn’t go to the gym. Rewards are typically between 50 cents and 75cents per workout. Once you reach $10 you can withdraw your rewards.
Gym rats may argue shopping isn’t exercise, but any real shopper knows a true shopping session can burn hundreds of calories toting around bags, trying on clothes and searching stores, aisles and racks for the perfect find.
Shopkick allows you to earn rewards for walking into stores like Target (TGT), Macy’s (M), Best Busy (BBY) and a slew of other retailers. You earn extra rewards for scanning items and purchases with your iPhone. Rewards include free gift cards, coffee, music downloads, Facebook credits, restaurant vouchers and movie tickets. Rewards and coupons will pop on your phone while you are shopping.