Lifestyle Apps Make A Game Out Of Your Health

hopscotch healthy living

Goal-Setting and Achieving is Made Easier Through Game-Style Fitness Apps

It has long been a game trying to find time to hit the gym or eat healthy. Goal-setting and motivation topics have been focal points for business leaders and motivational speakers for decades, and for good reason.  If you get healthier, you also become more productive, which ultimately translates to more profits for your employer.

Therefore, it’s no surprise many of the recent fitness apps are designed around a game infrastructure, which means rewarding the user for completing a series of goals and activities.  These apps have some sound strategies, but it has not been until recently that true lifestyle design—in the form of an app—have been good enough to really drive home these topics to create a healthier you.

One company that has been making major strides in these strategies is NextStep.IO who was first mentioned a couple months back when they made the Techweek Chicago 2013 LAUNCH Top Five Startups list.

NextStep.IO‘s main focus is to track all habits and turn them into healthy habits.  Essentially, the app looks for opportunities to replace being stagnant with physical activity.  This is supported by a dashboard designed around making incremental positive changes to everyday tasks.  The next steps for NextStep.IO will be learning to incorporate the massive amounts of data into useful features and tools.

The app creates an automated coaching niche market that will definitely grow.  The focus on a healthy lifestyle has survived changes in economic and social climates, and the new wave of devices (and apps that support them) are simply the next generation of motivation.  Want to get healthier?  You have to play the game and get a new high score.

The gaming aspect here goes beyond your typical physical feat, such as running to the store (instead of driving) or taking the stairs at the office (instead of the elevator).  With NextStep.IO, it’s an immersive experience that you jump into with every part of your electronic life as well as your health.  A couple potential examples from the beta project phase include:

  • Promoting constant movement (ex: warning with too many meetings, which require constant sitting)
  • Gearing a lifestyle that always operates outside when the weather is nice (ex: taking the dog for more walks instead playing of more video games)
  • Flagging too much time on social media (ex: excessive check-ins, status updates, photos)
  • Setting higher standards for exercise (ex: reminder to get your heart rate up 3 times per week)
  • Earning points for logging workouts of all types (ex: integrates with all the current workout systems)

When you treat your communication habits, work projects, and social media with a gaming mentality, it’s that much easier to be productive and perform at a high level.  One of the reasons this is true is because human nature is naturally competitive: when we see a number, we want to post a bigger one.  Company sales figures and targets aren’t posted just for recognition of top performers; the executives also want to ignite a competitive fire for employees to perform and achieve goals.

The important end-game target here for a total integration of measuring physical activity and electronic habits is helping achieve personal goals.  For those that find it difficult to focus on long-term goals in the middle of the daily grind, companies like NextStop.IO will aid in identifying unique habits people can incorporate into their lives, make small tweaks, and ultimately hit their goals through following suggested changes.

If data sets, coding, algorithms, social media, funky UI designs, and some creative thinking can help people raise the bar, beat a personal high score, and help us achieve goals, then what’s to lose?

What games work best for having a healthy lifestyle in and out of the workplace? Share your thoughts and comments below.

Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Sam Frymer is the founder of the Awesomeness Institute, a personal consulting firm that increases positivity through proven techniques and dynamic conversations.  You can find Sam on FacebookGoogle+Twitter, and LinkedIn.