Last Updated on August 24, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
At ColoradoPlays, we don’t merely focus on video and tabletop games. We also take part in physical gaming to boost fitness and health. Unfortunately, many are on the fence when it comes to exercise. But when you gamify fitness, it’s easier to maintain and it feels less like a chore.
Regardless of who you are, it’s all about keeping the mind engaged. If you don’t think something is fun, you’re less likely to continue over the long haul.
I know a lot of people who love exercising regularly at the gym. I also know a lot of people who dread exercise routines and regimens.[template id=”145″]
Gamify Fitness Benefits
Gamification is a term that’s been used for quite a while. It’s when you turn ordinary activities into those which seem more engaging and fun. For instance, some companies will use an “Employee of the Month” award based on merit.
This is a form of gamification.
Take any activity and turn it into a competition whether it’s against your own personal records or a friend. It’s all about winning the game.
So, what are some benefits when you gamify fitness?
Improves Mentality for the Actions
Not everyone wakes up with the mindset of, “I can’t wait to do my exercise routine today.” Some of us need an added boost to our mentality towards exercise.
By turning physical activity into a game, you give it more positive power in your mind. Instead of dreading the activity, you may even look forward to it.
For example, I love setting personal records. It’s a measure of how I am progressing and gives me bragging rights.
Health and fitness are essentially driven by your mentality towards them. You’re more likely to repeat a positive action than a negative one. And turning fitness into a game you enjoy, you can easily keep yourself healthy.
Physical Activity is More than Push-ups
You don’t need to focus purely on traditional exercise routines like push-ups to gamify fitness. In reality, any physical movement beyond your regular routine is beneficial.
Take me, for example. I’ve lost 70 pounds so far with the Xbox Kinect being the major form of exercise. I have quite a few games that I like to play, and they’ve proven to be very effective for burning calories and fat.
As odd as it sounds, I’ve turned many house chores into games as well. Using my Fitbit Charge 2, I track the number of calories I burn doing things like mopping the floor or cleaning the bathroom. Then, I try to beat those records.
After doing this, house chores really don’t seem like “chores” anymore. And that’s the key element: doing something you enjoy that gets you moving.
Improves Your Brain Power…and Gaming Skills
Physical activity improves how the brain functions. In fact, there is a lot of science data behind this proving exercise is good for the mind as well as the body. As much as 10 minutes a day has potential to increase cognitive performance by 14%. [note]Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2017/12/30/just-10-minutes-of-exercise-can-boost-brainpower-study-finds/[/note]
When it comes to video games, the mind and reflexes are the main contributor. Based on all of the evidence to support exercise improving brain power, physical activity may boost your abilities in the digital world.
This is perfect for those who love eSports and compete.
If you think you’re good now, imagine how you’d play if you stuck to a regular routine of being physically active.[template id=”505″]
You’ll Live Longer
And lastly, let’s not forget living longer. Like brain power, there is a lot of evidence which points to physical activity lengthening a lifespan. [note]News in Health – https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2016/06/can-you-lengthen-your-life[/note]
We’ve all heard tales of how obesity leads to heart disease and a myriad of other health complications. But it’s also used as a treatment for disabilities and mental disorders.
If you don’t like to take medication, consider how regular physical activity is comparable to antidepressants. While running laps won’t cure depression, it will easily reduce the symptoms and help improve your mood. [note]NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21495519[/note]
It’s hard not to find a study regarding fitness that improves a specific aspect of life.
How Do You Gamify Fitness?
Gamifying fitness is all about engaging the mind and making an activity fun. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to play sports or talk yourself into a gym membership. But if you enjoy those activities, then you’re good to go.
You can gamify fitness in a vast number of ways. For example, you can:
- Use a fitness tracker to monitor movement and then work to surpass daily bests.
- Play on a sports league of some kind. I am partial to bowling and golf.
- Compete with friends to see who can burn the most calories or record the most steps walking.
- Hold friendly competitions in-house with the Xbox Kinect or even the Wii. [note]Crossing Colorado – https://crossingcolorado.com/2018/01/10/how-the-xbox-kinect-is-still-a-great-workout-tool/[/note]
- Do case studies on yourself to see what activities burn the most calories. This is something I do a lot, actually. It’s how I know I can burn more calories playing Kinect Tennis than many people doing a 40-minute aerobic routine.
- Use apps that engage your mind. I use Fitbit, Runkeeper and MyFitnessPal.
The point is to get up off your butt and do something you find fun. Sometimes it takes a bit of imagination to turn something into a game, but it’s worth the effort.
For me, it’s all about personal records. I love surpassing my best times, weights and repetitions in just about anything.
I geeked out quite a bit when I beat my push-up record by 8 reps a couple of years ago.
A good tool to use for recording your records is Exercise.com, by the way. It’s a free app that will store your information and even pit your skills against others on the website.
Gamify Fitness and Avoid Being Bored
One of the biggest problems a lot of people have with exercise is how bored they get. When you gamify fitness, you reduce the chances of viewing it as a mundane activity. Do what you can to get up and move your body.
It’s not always about losing weight or getting those six-pack abs. For me, it’s about living a better, and longer, lifestyle.[template id=”543″]
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