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Gamification of Health and Fitness

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Replies

  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    I guess one thing bad about making moving a game is it tends to push the idea that all you have to do is move more. Exercise is important but it isn't always so great for weight loss.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    Sometimes it motivates me to move. I went out one Sunday to get more steps in when I saw that if I did that, I'd win the "fitbit weekend warrior" trophy.

    I play Ingress. There's a fair amount of walking with that.

    But that's me. I imagine it doesn't work with everyone.

    That is a little of what I'm talking about; many people (I'm not pointing the finger at you here) are willing to go out on a walk to win the competition or earn the badge, but not simply because they'll enjoy the walk and it's good for them. I just feel there needs to be something else other than the reward system available in these apps to help people keep up these healthy habits once the rewards wear off.

    I guess if we knew what that 'something' was, we'd all be fit and healthy and endlessly motivated.

    ETA: My grammar was horrible. Edits had to be made.

    I think a lot of time the initial motivation results in the development of a habit or other reasons for doing it.

    For example, I initially used rewards as a reason to exercise -- mostly training for stuff (a race or tri or bike event). But through doing that I realized other rewards, like the fact I just enjoy running outside and find it a stress release. Even now, though, I might not want to go out, but if I think of it as a time to listen to podcasts or music, it gets me out the door and then I remember I like it for its own sake (to the point of enjoying a 12 mile run even after my iPhone ran out of batteries 10 minutes out the door (before I realized it was cold weather doing it)).

    I currently struggle with swimming, even though I know in my head that if I go I always enjoy it, so some "gamification" or other incentive might get me over the hump there too.
  • snickerscharlie
    snickerscharlie Posts: 8,582 Member
    When I read the title of the post, I immediately thought of a trend I've noticed here:
    Boutique Fitness Studios.
    Instead of a traditional gym, they offer classes you may not find elsewhere: hot yoga, barre, etc. Then, after your class, sit down for a manicure or get your hair done. The gym/studio itself is usually glamorized with fits and finishes you wouldn't see in a traditional gym. (Chandeliers, fancy furniture in the entrance)
    It seems to me like a lot of hype and an expensive price tag for limited classes.
    It must be the trend of the week. I'm sure it will pass like all the others.

    If people can afford it and are intimidated by regular gyms, for example, I see no issue with combining a fitness venue with a salon. Sounds rather time-efficient! And if it gets them to do exercise that they normally wouldn't, more power to 'em. :)
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    When I read the title of the post, I immediately thought of a trend I've noticed here:
    Boutique Fitness Studios.
    Instead of a traditional gym, they offer classes you may not find elsewhere: hot yoga, barre, etc. Then, after your class, sit down for a manicure or get your hair done. The gym/studio itself is usually glamorized with fits and finishes you wouldn't see in a traditional gym. (Chandeliers, fancy furniture in the entrance)
    It seems to me like a lot of hype and an expensive price tag for limited classes.
    It must be the trend of the week. I'm sure it will pass like all the others.

    My health and wellness center offers those classes and has a spa attached that offers manis and pedis. There's also a nice lounge area attached where you can use the wifi and lounges attached to each locker room. No chandeliers, though. The gym is attached to a medical center where my family doctor is and all the personal trainers don't just have certification; they have degrees in something to do with physiology.

    I don't see what's wrong with boutique gyms, or having a mani/pedi after your workout.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    dykask wrote: »
    I guess one thing bad about making moving a game is it tends to push the idea that all you have to do is move more. Exercise is important but it isn't always so great for weight loss.

    You could say that a bad thing about financial education is that paying off your mortgage doesn't help with weight loss. I think both criticisms would be myopic, there's more to life than weight loss. (But exercise is pretty great for weight loss though!)
  • snickerscharlie
    snickerscharlie Posts: 8,582 Member
    dykask wrote: »
    I guess one thing bad about making moving a game is it tends to push the idea that all you have to do is move more. Exercise is important but it isn't always so great for weight loss.

    How so?
  • auddii
    auddii Posts: 15,357 Member
    Well, it's working well for me. I've been using the hell out of my FitBit and PokemonGo. When I first got my FitBit, I took on average 3000 steps a day. Now I average closert to 17,000. It's been super effective, and I love being competitive, mostly with myself, but challenges are fun too.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    I think anything that gets people off their duff and moving is a good thing! Is it good long term? Probably not for many, but it's great until the next think comes along.

    The great thing about exercise is that there are countless ways to do it. Switching it up often works well for some.
  • TravisJHunt
    TravisJHunt Posts: 533 Member
    I'd say if it works for you, just do it! I'm competitive so I enjoy my step tracking and such, but I prefer my video games sitting down.
  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    edited September 2016
    dykask wrote: »
    I guess one thing bad about making moving a game is it tends to push the idea that all you have to do is move more. Exercise is important but it isn't always so great for weight loss.

    How so?

    It is actual pretty easy to gain weight from exercising and in fact that happens when your body is working well and one is in reasonable shape. Additionally many people overeat using exercise as an excuse to eat more. Finally it takes an awful lot of exercise to equal a pound of fat. (Typically more than 10 hours of it for most people.)

    Exercise has many benefits, weight loss though is a secondary benefit at best.
  • Anvil_Head
    Anvil_Head Posts: 251 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Some random thoughts:
    • Gamified activities can become a sort of gateway drug to other forms of activity, once people discover they feel better when they're fitter, discover that it's fun to use that slightly better fitness to do active things with friends (hike, disc golf, whatever), etc. Doesn't happen for everyone, but seems to happen for some.
    • Traditional sports/fitness activities are heavily gamified. Many runners race (or compare pace), powerlifters compete (or compare 1RMs), rowers like me not only race but sometimes get involved in cumulative distance competition to stay motivated (especially for indoor winter rowing-machine training), martial artists spar, etc. It's kind of hard to separate out what aspect is motivating for people, the activity itself or the competition. In that sense, Fitbit competitions or whatever don't seem that different. (What I viscerally don't understand is how some people can (for one example) go "do cardio" that they don't enjoy - so they have to watch TV or something while they do it - just because it's supposed to be good for them to "do cardio". Yuck. But I digress.)
    • If current gamified activity leads to even more active games & competitions becoming common in our culture, creating a normative expectation that being active is fun and good for regular people, and countering the too-common "ugh, exercise" notion among the non-active, that's gotta be a good thing.
    • I kinda feel like anything that increases good results, without itself being evil, is OK, so why not? I can understand a bit of self-skepticism about one's own motivations and future actions, but it's a bit naval-gaze-y, and I don't much get into that flavor of self-analysis.

    So, too soon to tell if it will be a good trend, IMO, but I have a hard time seeing how it could be actively bad.

    All good points. I'm all for anything that gets people up off their butts and moving. Maybe it will be a gateway to other activities, or maybe they'll just continue to chase Pokémon around on their cell phone. Either way, it's more beneficial than sitting on their duffs staring at a tv screen. Not everybody wants to (or can) become a powerlifter or marathon runner.
  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    edited September 2016
    dykask wrote: »
    dykask wrote: »
    I guess one thing bad about making moving a game is it tends to push the idea that all you have to do is move more. Exercise is important but it isn't always so great for weight loss.

    How so?

    It is actual pretty easy to gain weight from exercising and in fact that happens when your body is working well and one is in reasonable shape. Additionally many people overeat using exercise as an excuse to eat more. Finally it takes an awful lot of exercise to equal a pound of fat. (Typically more than 10 hours of it for most people.)

    Exercise has many benefits, weight loss though is a secondary benefit at best.

    You can't gain weight from something that reduces the available energy in your body.

    You can't really control how much energy your body uses or how your body uses your food. (No matter of how many games you make out it!) :smiley:
  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    edited September 2016
    dykask wrote: »
    dykask wrote: »
    dykask wrote: »
    I guess one thing bad about making moving a game is it tends to push the idea that all you have to do is move more. Exercise is important but it isn't always so great for weight loss.

    How so?

    It is actual pretty easy to gain weight from exercising and in fact that happens when your body is working well and one is in reasonable shape. Additionally many people overeat using exercise as an excuse to eat more. Finally it takes an awful lot of exercise to equal a pound of fat. (Typically more than 10 hours of it for most people.)

    Exercise has many benefits, weight loss though is a secondary benefit at best.

    You can't gain weight from something that reduces the available energy in your body.

    You can't really control how much energy your body uses or how your body uses your food. (No matter of how many games you make out it!) :smiley:


    You can't control how much energy your body uses down to the small calorie (not like anyone actually needs to but that topic has been beaten to death already), but you can increase it and can be 100% sure that physical activity will ALWAYS reduce the energy your body has available if nothing is eaten to compensate, that's physics and not a game.
    And you can be 100% sure that your body will not waste any more of the food you ate than is the normal wastage amounts, that's evolution. I don't really want to look for the poop study again. Even the people with the worst gut bacteria distribution had less than 10% energy wastage. We're efficient, barring people who have medical conditions.

    If energy is needed, your body has the capability of turning any metabolizable nutrient into energy, be that from any digestible carb, fat or protein.

    What you are saying has nothing to do with if exercise will help you lose weight. Often exercise leads to weight gain, even if you lose body fat. Lean mass is heavier. Conditioned muscles hold more glycogen. You generally consume and retain a lot more water if you exercise, etc, etc.

    Oh, please keep your poop to yourself! Some people never learn.

    Anyway in the end you still don't know how many calories your body really uses or what your body has done with the food. Exercise influences, but it isn't an absolute control. Claiming it is just shows a lack of experience.
  • zyxst
    zyxst Posts: 9,131 Member
    ladyreva78 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    • Gamified activities can become a sort of gateway drug to other forms of activity, once people discover they feel better when they're fitter, discover that it's fun to use that slightly better fitness to do active things with friends (hike, disc golf, whatever), etc. Doesn't happen for everyone, but seems to happen for some.

    That's what my Fitbit did for me. Since I have it, I've actually gone back hiking with my friends again at least once a months. In the past I'd be 'erm... I don't have time this weekend...'. Just seeing the pathetic numbers on my fitbit made me cringe. I'm in competition with myself to improve that. I currently reach 5k a day (without even trying) and usually a smidgen more. I'm hoping to reach a regular 10K in about 6 months. My health is thanking me for it.

    So all in all, for me, it's a good thing.

    I like getting the badges from Fitbit for what I do. Hey, it's supposed to be super windy today (up to 80 kph winds). I might be able to break 300 floors for a new badge!
  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    zyxst wrote: »
    ladyreva78 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    • Gamified activities can become a sort of gateway drug to other forms of activity, once people discover they feel better when they're fitter, discover that it's fun to use that slightly better fitness to do active things with friends (hike, disc golf, whatever), etc. Doesn't happen for everyone, but seems to happen for some.

    That's what my Fitbit did for me. Since I have it, I've actually gone back hiking with my friends again at least once a months. In the past I'd be 'erm... I don't have time this weekend...'. Just seeing the pathetic numbers on my fitbit made me cringe. I'm in competition with myself to improve that. I currently reach 5k a day (without even trying) and usually a smidgen more. I'm hoping to reach a regular 10K in about 6 months. My health is thanking me for it.

    So all in all, for me, it's a good thing.

    I like getting the badges from Fitbit for what I do. Hey, it's supposed to be super windy today (up to 80 kph winds). I might be able to break 300 floors for a new badge!

    Stair climbing 300 floors in a day? I've done over 200 but no where near 300. Wow!