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Health & Fitness Apps for Your Smartphone or Tablet – Segment 5: Exercise Gamification*

September 9, 2013

*This document is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. Please note: The information we provide here is based on information obtained from the companies who created the apps and online reviews of the apps. Some of the information provided within individual apps may not be scientifically proven.

Exercise Gamification

If you often feel like exercise is drudgery, then perhaps it’s time to add a little fun to your routine. Here are a couple of apps that may help motivate you by making exercise more of a game than a chore.

Fitocracy – Fitness Game, Tracker by Fitocracy, Inc. (Free). Though Fitocracy could definitely fit within the category of popular tracking and analytic apps, it has the unique twist of being super social and aims to “gamify” fitness. Fitocracy is like a social network geared towards making fitness and weight loss fun through gamification. The community-based network lets you interact with others who are striving to beat each level of their weight loss or fitness goals. Fitocracy recognizes the power of playful competition. This community-centric app challenges you to keep up with workouts, complete fitness quests, and level up alongside online friends. The app contains hundreds of workouts and makes it easy to track your activity. Fitocracy awards you with points and the ability to “level-up” and win virtual badges in an attempt to encourage you to engage more consistently in exercise routines and trips to the gym. Share with your friends for social support or a little competition to keep you motivated toward fitness and weight loss. Fitocracy allows users to record thousands of activities from dancing at a party to taking the stairs. You can connect with others who have similar fitness goals, join community groups that answer health questions, invite your friends, and pick up followers as well. The portable access and support from friends can help you say “no” to the donut and “yes” to the whole wheat toast, or simply remind you to quit when you’re full or choose correct portion sizes. The invite-only, free web app has you set up a profile, add a picture, your current weight (which you can keep private), and then introduces you to a status feed that shows updates and level-ups from other users.

Available for iOS and Android.

Zombies, Run! by Six to Start ($3.99; 5K version $1.99). If the only way you are getting out the door to exercise today is to run for your life – then that’s what you should do – with Zombies Run! This app turns a walk or jog in the park or a run on the treadmill into a thrilling game where you are being virtually chased by zombies. In this audio experience, zombies chase you as you run, and the faster you move and better you perform, the longer you remain free. It’s like being in a live video game. Zombies Run! immerses you in an action-packed story (mixed with your own music) that you play while jogging in the park or running on a treadmill. You can create custom playlists so the story unfolds through your favorite songs. Zombies Run! has designed interval training and workout routines that get you in shape and equip you to survive the ”rise of the undead.” With 30 exciting missions for you to survive, you won’t be sitting still for long. This app also has a specialized 8 week 5K training that can get you ready for a race and the “end of mankind.” This quest for survival is definitely a nice change from the tenth lap around the track or the fourth time around the neighborhood. In addition to tracking your progress, you can earn power-ups like “medicine” and “ammo” while you trek. Collect tools and learn to survive as you get fit. So, if you’ve always thought running was boring but wished you didn’t, you might give Zombies Run! a try.

Available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.


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