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How fitness made us all players

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Let's go back to the days of July 2016, when "Pokémon Go" was launched into the world and a crowd went outside just to catch them all.

Am I with myself? ? Because while I have no idea what's going down near PokéStop near my house, it's been three years since it surfaced, and it's still as vivid as ever.

While it would be easy to accept that The people who play are all young gamers who are largely removed from the base. Because "Gamer" is actually a broad population.

Gamification expert Yu-kai Chou explains in his Ted Talk that "the average player is actually 35 years old". According to Chou, nearly 70 percent of players are over the age of 18, and nearly half are women. When you consider app games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds, the population size gets even bigger.

So you're probably also a player. In fact, many companies in the fitness industry rely on everyone to be a player who leads us to long-term exercises (and memberships).

Gamification is the practice of introducing game elements such as story plots systems and sharing statistics into a task that already exists in a non-game form. From a historical perspective, the gamification of fitness began with the foot races of the 776 BC Olympic Games. Maybe we're a bit late … but living in an app world, there's a way to make the training fun for everyone.

Check out "Zombies, Run !," has over four million downloads. The app tells a story in which users are among the few who have survived a zombie apocalypse and are trying to navigate to the last remaining outposts of humanity. They collect supplies on the go and are sometimes hunted by zombies (which, understandably, encourages users to run faster). Users can track their runs and share their progress with others.

I may not run to catch a legendary Pokémon, but would I run to survive, even in a fictional world? At least one time.

For those who think zombies are overrated, the same team, the "Zombies, Run!" This game appeals to us in the same way that binge-watching television does. The idea is that users think about "maybe just a short walk" instead of "just one more episode" so they can experience more of the story.

However, in these examples, physical fitness is a pleasant side effect not the main attraction of the app (at least not the way the user perceives it).

It's also human nature to be motivated by real competition, which is why gamified classes such as Orangetheory Fitness and SWERVE Fitness from NYC have become popular.

Orangetheory displays each participant's name on a digital screen along with the calories burned and the percentage of his maximum heart rate he works with. During my first course there, I found it a bit embarrassing to have my name visibly displayed to everyone.

Garner Pilat, an ACSM exercise physiologist and orange theory trainer, explains how she sees people motivating: "[The screen] You are much more responsible while you exercise. It's almost like immediate gratification if you get a splat point (as we call it, if you spend 1 minute in the orange or red zone).

At the end of the class, all stats are displayed, but the results are alphabetically and not by performance. Despite a small embarrassment I felt in this first class, I returned to the second round and was motivated to beat my previous score.

Favorite Features [of Orangetheory]"says Pilat.

SWERVE cycling courses are for those who like to work in teams and do not want to share their personal information with a whole host of strangers. Each class is divided into three teams. While you can see your personal information on your bike, the overall scores of the teams are displayed on screens in the room. A team wins at the end of the course.

These courses work for two reasons: they are optimistic, energetic and fun, and participants can follow their results and see immediate and long-term improvements.

explains Chou For gamification to be successful, it must "motivate our core drivers". He defines the eight core drives as:

  • means
  • achievement
  • possession prevention
  • unpredictability
  • ] social influence
  • empowerment

For the fitness world, Chou felt "development and achievement" to be particularly motivating. This means that people are forced to work harder by feeling that they are improving in the short term.

He uses the example of the Nike + Nike Fuel Band (this theory also extends to Orangetheory and Swerve). What the Nike + (and similar apps) do well are the little milestones, like the fact that you ran a mile further this week than last week or consumed more calories today than yesterday.

"We all know that health and exercise are very important," Chou says, "but health is a long-term thing, and our brain is terrible when it comes to long-term benefits. We like short-term satisfactions.

Tangible satisfactions, such as the onslaught of a new purchase or the first bite of a cupcake, keep people on their toes.

Jemir Martinez from Fit to July in Greenwich, Connecticut, explains this when In his program, current pricing was added to the gamification model, and customers achieved even better results.

"In the last two months, we held a contest to find out who can achieve the most [points] in a month. Prizes include free loot, such as leggings or hoodies, or free personal workouts. Before these competitions, users got about 700 to 800 [1945903] a month. Now users have at least 1,000. "

Pilat reiterated this assessment when he explained that orange theory is experiencing a point boost in the studios' contests, with members having the chance to win $ 500.

"There are different prices from studio to studio," she says, "but it's amazing how much more motivated the members are if there's a small price they can earn in addition to their boasting rights!"

Put simply, if the points you collect have no real value, users will probably consider them pointless at some point.

In 2008, Disney attempted to increase the productivity of its laundry workers. The company introduced an electronic tracking system that recorded the daily progress and displayed the results on a huge ranking. When you have reached the goals of the management, your name has been displayed in green. Your name was shown in yellow when you started to slow down and red when you fell short of management goals.

Not surprisingly, many employees disliked this system and began calling it an "electronic whip."

The same goes for fitness gamification: if the only purpose of an app or class is to get results without engaging or having fun, it will probably fail.

But Gamification of Fitness Goes Nowhere

A 2017 report found that 318,000 health and fitness apps were available for download. How many of them are game-based is unknown, and the jury is not yet sure how effective these apps will ultimately be. However, one thing is clear in this report: in 10 years they will become standard vehicles for the "provision of human health".

With prices for fitness studios, especially in densely populated cities, unaffordable, it's no wonder that fitness apps are so popular. With the advent of e-trainers and gamification apps, personal trainers have also had a hard time keeping up.

Madison Chappell created the FitNFlow app to alleviate the concerns of trainers who lost their virtual education work or fitness technology like the peloton bike.

"[When live classes and] Video streaming services appeared, freelance instructors were already busy with constant cancellations and last-minute price negotiations. Now that these services have turned up and cost very little, customers are focusing even more on price, "says Chappell.

"I was told I could just watch a free YouTube video yoga class. Why should I give you $ 40 to do the same? "This worries me because yoga teachers and personal trainers are very well trained in their practice to be able to adapt the class to each individual body. Alone can cause serious injury and is not nearly as effective as a teacher who motivates, guides, and encourages you to improve. "

Chappell calls FitNFlow the" Uber of Yoga "that yoga teachers can create A profile and clients can book a yoga teacher at the time and place they want. This does not work the way Chou would call it "social influence". The users divide the cost of one class among the many subscribers (so if you invite six friends to a $ 30 class, each friend pays only $ 5).

As for the leaderboard? Chappell does not focus on it.

"At FitNFlow, we do not want to focus too much on individual performance. Social experience helps immensely with motivation, so we want to promote this and the lessons so that they can see how far they have come. "With gamification apps inadequacies, gamification is evolving as it sees fit to keep users from returning. Looks like gamification will stay here, folks.

So, are you ready? Get ready. Download.

Grace Gallagher is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. All her works can be found at www.gracelgallagher.com .

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