Can Gamified Health Apps Help You Get Fit?

by Marie on 07/09/2014

Gamified health apps for fitness

Many people begin their weight loss efforts but fail to sustain them over a period of time. This is because they lack motivation. With proper motivation, one can see surprising results. Not only will you lose weight, you will be able to keep it off. Since smartphones are common nowadays, a company Gamification, has introduced apps to motivate people to remain fit. Gamified health apps have gained immense popularity amongst those who aim to be fit.

But can Gamified health apps actually help you lose weight and remain fit?

The main concern amongst fitness experts is that these apps have not been researched. Ever since the Gamified apps were launched, people trust them blindly. There is no doubt about the fact that they may actually work. But there is also a chance that they will not. The lead author of a BYU study being conducted on Gamified health apps, Cameron Lister expressed his concerns regarding the apps. He said that merely earning a badge on your device screen does not help.

The study that Cameron is conducting surveyed over 1,500 applications. All of these apps supposedly helped people in losing weight and staying fit. A fair majority of the most popular apps nowadays feature gamification. He even downloaded over 100 applications to see if they actually helped anyone in losing weight. Let’s look at the applications Cameron analyzed and what he found:

Pact

This app encourages friends to compete with each other to keep up their exercise routine. If one friend keeps up the routine and the others don’t, he/she wins. This is done at the expense of the ones who fail to keep up the exercise routine. This is a promising idea and might just work for some people.

Fitbit

This app allows users to share their exercise routine, fitness goals and progress on leader boards. This sparks up healthy competition amongst users. Users can even take fitness challenges and enter the competition through the app.

DietBet

This app is quite similar to the Pact. Each user puts money on the line and aims to achieve their fitness goals. If a user manages to lose 4% of their weight in four weeks, they earn money.

Since the applications focus on peer pressure, there is a good chance they will provide good results. Most people manage to achieve great results when they are under such pressure. Gamified health apps may provide exceptional results, but it is not ideal to have high expectations.

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