Exercising with Online Games and Apps: My Review and Recommendations

Exercising with Online Games and Apps: My Review and Recommendations

Need motivation to exercise? 2019 might be the year to bring technology into the mix. There are currently over 1000 fitness apps on the market. Both fitness enthusiasts and athletes use and love them. There are   sophisticated options that measure sleep patterns, heart rates, steps, swimming stokes per workout, running speed and cadence, to watts and speed on the bike. I’ve found my favorite, but there might be others out there that work best for you. Apps can tell you when you have been sitting too long by buzzing and telling you to “Move”. If that’s not like having your own coach on hand I don’t know what is. Each year these apps get more sophisticated, smaller, and lighter, but do they actually motivate the population to exercise? Making the case for fitness apps is a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research that says people who use exercise apps are more likely to exercise during their leisure time than those who do not use exercise apps. This can be disputed, as there are not many studies and can assume if someone downloads an exercise app, they were probably more likely to exercise even before the app started prompting them. But let’s go with it.

Let’s keep two goals in mind: Starting and Continuing

Chad Couto rides a bicycle outdoors during a marathon.
I would like to contribute to this conversation from what I have observed and experienced myself. It is true that I do love to exercise. I also love to compete in exercise events, but in the dead of winter on a stationary bike, trying to grind out two hours or more can be a drag. As you can imagine, some days I would just skip it. My brain just didn’t have the stamina for one more indoor session on the trainer. Then came along a fitness app for bikers called Zwift. I am not sponsored by Zwift, just very happy with the results and excited to share them with you.

Interaction inspires and motivates

This is one of the many interactive fitness games that are on the internet that I have found to be effective. It’s all about that starting and continuing and these games gave me the motivation to get on the bike and stay on the bike. It offers a readout of all my physical measurements: speed cadence, watts and heart rates, and the same information of the other riders that are on the site with me. This kicked in a bit of my competitive edge, motivating me to keep at it. I can exercise any time, day or night, and share this exercise experience with people all over the world. This is extremely engaging especially when you ride with an organized online group of riders all doing the same workout.  Zwift will then record all of my physical statistics for that ride and store them for future review. I have become so addicted to this fitness gaming I might need an intervention.

Like running? No Problem

Chad Couto runs outdoors during a fitness marathon.
Zwift also has interactive fitness running. The same idea as the biking. You just need a treadmill with blue tooth technology. So the treadmill can talk to the Zwift gaming site. In this site you can run, jog, even walk with other kindred spirits around the world.

Convenient

One of the main reasons besides, motivation, is convenience. In our time crunched world there is very little time to get to a gym or go out for a walk or run. The outdoor environment might not be conducive for exercising outside either, particularly in snowy Vermont. These interactive fitness games are a great way to utilize your exercise on your time schedule.

Many Options

There many other interactive fitness gaming sites out there. There is Pelaton: an indoor bike that has blue tooth technology to present spin classes from professional spin instructors. You just select the class or instructor and presto, you are in an organized spin class in the privacy of your home. You can also opt for the simpler apps that focus on helping you drink more water, take more steps, and stay active throughout the day. It’s all about what fits your schedule and goals.

Final Thoughts

You can share your goals with a wide spectrum of people from all over the world cheering you on and you cheering them on: one goal one purpose: to improve the quality of your life through a unified platform. The ZWIFTERS have a saying that they use when encountering other riders they know by saying, “Ride On” so I say to you, Ride On and find a fitness app that resonates with you.

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