The Gamification of Fitness

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One of the best things about having this week off work is that I can spend a decent amount of time at the gym. Normally I’d be hurrying home from work thinking “I have to be asleep in four hours and the trains are delayed again.”

I’m not a fitness nut or anything. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve spent the last eight years in a desk job and often enjoy sitting on my couch playing video games when I’m home. Eventually I could no longer ignore the fat developing around my belly and limbs.

So I took up running for a while, which helped me enormously. But it was never fun and during the cold winter months, the streets of London are not forgiving. Thus, I’ve taken advantage of a special offer of half-price gym membership with Virgin Active.

The black disc you can see on my running shoes in the picture above is a fitness tracker called Misfit Shine. It can be attatched to shoes, clothes, or wrists during running, swimming, or any other type of exercise. By accumulating points with this tracker, I can earn free coffee and cinema tickets every week while engaging in some friendly competition with other Misfit users.

It essentially feels like levelling up in a video game… earning EXP by being active with my body. Perhaps these fitness trackers and gamification are simply the newest fads to crop up in recent years… but as far as fads go, these two feel pretty good!

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