‘Gamification’ has been a buzz word used in most industries during the past few years. But what is it? And how can Government, sport and active recreation utilise this concept to increase physical activity levels and social connectedness within communities?
Basically, gamification is the act of making everyday tasks fun – using game based elements – to cause behaviour changes which are carried through into the real world.
And it’s not just for young people.
Gamification can promote health and wellness through a variety of mechanics and dynamics, which are traditionally only seen in ‘games’ – computer, board and others – and include badges • levels • leaderboards • avatars • real-time feedback • challenges and quests • trophy cases.
“Effective gamification works because it creates an experience that drives behaviour. And despite the cautions about the misuse of games, gamification as a concept has great potential for making significant improvements on an individual, social and global scale.
Compared to traditional video gaming where players engage in virtual worlds, gamification has the potential for real-world change.
Research has shown that people who play a game based on a highly believable narrative, for example an oil shortage that would affect the way they drive their car, buy food, etc – actually produced a change in their daily habits which endured beyond the time spent playing the game (McGonigal, 2011).
By increasing awareness for issues such as social interaction, social responsibility, and community-building for example, the movement can reduce social isolation and contribute to wider social change”. Danya Braunstein
Check out the video Minute Hacks: The Gamification of Fitness for an explanation…in 60 seconds!
We’ve also compiled a list of different ‘gamified’ fitness apps for use by people of all ages, fitness levels and interests. Try a few – and see if YOUR behaviour changes.
Zombies, Run! Zombies, Run! provides users with more than 30 different missions controlled, in part, by their relative pace, interspersed with songs from the users’ playlist as they walk, jog, or run away from impending zombie doom.
- Fleetly Not motivated by the living dead? Maybe some healthy competition will kick you into gear.
- Mobile Adventure Walks by Shinobi Labs free-to-play iPhone app, is a cross between a treasure hunt and an everyday walk
- Game Of Thrones Inspired Running RoutesIt seems like every brand is trying to harness the popularity of HBO show Game of Thrones into their own services. Run of Thrones is a game of running paths on Google Maps that are shaped like the family crests of the ruling houses in Game of Thrones.
- Ghost Race enables you to track your times on various routes and compare your performance from day to day.
- Interval Run With training plans including Tabata, Couch to 5K, Gateway to 8K and a One Hour Program, the recorded voice tells you what to do and when to do it.
- YYoga app offers a variety of yoga and fitness challenges, designed to inspire people to achieve new goals.
- Proof! Anyone can post a status that they just finished an 18-miler, but this app requires “proof” of completion—i.e. a photo or video.
- Teemo Turn your workouts into a whirlwind travel adventure. This app virtually drops you into the world’s toughest fitness environments and gets your heart rate pumping and calories burning.
- Fitocracy Each workout is a mission, assigning you a task each day to get fit. But don’t worry – you’ll be rewarded – virtually speaking of course – with each feat accomplished.
- Bit Timer promises to be the “World’s Simplest Interval Timer Ever,” It has a clean and simple interface, making it easy to plug in your desired number of work periods, rest periods, and repetitions.
- Run Half Marathon app features a built-in calendar to schedule your training runs, saves your stats and checks off each completed workout on the calendar—how’s that for a feeling of satisfaction?
- Full Fitness Choose from 30 workout routines designed by top fitness professionals and tailored to specific goal, whether it’s losing weight, defining your legs, or improving overall fitness.
Building stronger, safer, happier and healthier communities means we need to better connect with our surroundings. Not just our neighbours, but our parks, streets, beaches, rivers, playgrounds and other meeting spaces. Making it ‘fun’ to get out and meet new people/try new things, is one way of helping to increase this connectedness – and using gamification is a way of incorporating our growing reliance of technology, to be incorporated into this behavior change action. What do you think?