5 Health Gamification Apps That Will Motivate You to Get Fit

Health technology is not just about counting steps and tracking calories. Some of it is, dare I say, fun. When you combine the popularity of activity tracking with the popularity of mobile gaming, you get one thing: health gamification.

When your workout is a game, it’s about more than just putting in the time – it’s about leveling up, earning rewards, and slaying zombies. (No, really!) Atari Fit is just one of the players in this game – their app will launch early this year. The more you workout, the more classic Atari games you unlock. It’s the old carrot dangling trick for the modern age.

Some say video games are addictive – in this case, that’s a good thing. These apps use technology to motivate us to get healthy and stay healthy by making fitness fun. Here are our favorite ways to “gamify” our daily workouts.

Charity Miles
What if your exercise regimen bettered others instead of just betting on yourself? Charity Miles has a million dollar sponsorship pool they’re looking to divvy up among charities. Pick one then earn money for you cause by working out. Bikers earn ten cents per mile and walkers earn 25 cents per mile. Now you really have no excuse not to work out.

“Earn cash for living healthy, paid by members who don’t.” That’s Pact’s tagline and it’s a pretty motivating one – the app claims a 92 percent success rate. Here’s how it works: you make a weekly pact like “I will exercise three times a week” or “I will eat vegetarian two times a day” then you wage a certain amount of money each week. Track your progress on the app and get rewarded or penalized monetarily. Perfect for penny pinchers that need a kick in the butt!

Asthmatics are familiar with the dreaded breathing tube. A doctor forces you to blow into the tube to measure how hard you can exhale. It’s not fun for someone with weak lungs. But Alvio wants to change that. It’s a breathing training tool that acts as a game controller for breath-controlled mobile games. Not only does it allow users to exercise their lungs, it tracks their conditions too and can ultimately lead to decreased reliance on a rescue inhaler.

Zombies, Run!
You’ll run a little faster with this app playing in your ears. Zombies, Run! is an action-packed story mixed with your own music. It tracks your time and distance and works at any speed. There are 40 different missions to play along the way. You’ll pick up supplies, save people, and escape a horde of zombies via the audio cues. There’s even a 5K Training version for beginners and a version called The Walk for those looking to count steps. It’s a 500 mile audio thriller.

Superhero Workout Game
Maybe this is just semantics, but calling a workout an “epic mission” makes me more likely to do it! After all, “Heroes aren’t born. They’re trained.” There are 12 different workouts plus seven stamina-testing challenges. The app tracks every rep via motion tracking with your device’s camera so there is no room for cheating. Will you be a superhero by the end? No. But hopefully you’ll feel like one.

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Aubre Andrus

Aubre Andrus

Aubre is a guest contributor to She also written for Mashable, Nat Geo Travel and many more.