Gamifying Health: The Next Step in Self-Quantification

Cardio workouts are an effective way to get in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, sometimes just jogging can get a bit tedious. Sure, you can listen to music to liven things up or turn on your audiobooks to catch up on a novel, but a new take on exercise could make you much more productive than a new podcast.

Gamification, the latest trend in exercise routines, helps make exercise more of an interactive experience instead of a daily chore. These tools can narrate your runs, give you encouragement or even make you feel like you’re a different character.

The following apps are excellent choices for gamifying your health to make exercise more exciting:

Zombies, Run! ($3.99)

Imagine being in a zombie apocalypse and the only way to survive is to literally outrun the undead. The basic premise of Zombies, Run involves you gathering supplies and fortifying a base after the world has become overrun by zombies. You can access it with your smartphone, iPod or other device that can access an app store — just remember that you’ll be carrying this item with you when you run! With narrative recaps of your runs, stats on the calories you’ve burned and the option to listen to your own music while running, this app is worth the low price-tag for a running experience that will truly motivate you.

HabitRPG (Free)

HabitRPG makes exercising fun and rewarding. If you have trouble starting new habits — such as going for a daily jog or eating a serving of veggies with your lunch — this app can help motivate you to achieve your goals. Each time you accomplish a goal, you earn rewards and experience. The more experience you get, the more features you unlock. Additionally, because you’re part of a guild, your accomplishments affect your group. You’ll get encouragement and support from your group and help them rise in the ranks, too. You can use your computer or smartphone to get started.

Pact (Free)

It’s easy to skip a gym workout when you’re only paying a small amount each month. However, it’s harder to justify skipping Leg Day when you’ve got money on the line. With Pact, you put up money and have to accomplish your goal to earn money back. If you don’t accomplish your goal, you lose your money. You can use Pact for exercise, eating more veggies or logging healthy meals. The app is available for Apple and Android products.

Run an Empire (Coming Soon)

This upcoming tool is perfect for any self-proclaimed nerd who wants to exercise more. Although the application is still being developed, the premise seems to involve joining a guild and helping it claim the most land for its kingdom. By combining strategy, stealth and exercise, you will help your guild take over the neighborhood. Run an Empire is currently in its beta stage, but the release date for iOS is mid-2015 and late-2015 for Android.

FitRPG (Free)

FitRPG is another great app for the RPG-lover who wants to get more active. This app works with a Fitbit to make your charts and numbers a little more exciting. FitRPG takes the information from your Fitbit to create an RPG character that can fight monsters and go on quests. You can earn gold and level up by accomplishing healthy goals and “battle” your friends to earn even more gold. The healthier your habits, the more you level up. Download the app with your Fitbit account to start your own adventure.

Accessing these applications is as easy as picking up your phone and clicking the download button. You can interact with friends, achieve your goals and maybe even earn some money in the process. Put on your running shoes, stick in your headphones and get ready to have some fun while you work out.

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