5 Fun Ways To Gamify Your Workout Routine


If you aren’t someone who naturally enjoys breaking a sweat, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re probably in the majority. That’s why countless fitness studios, gyms and online influencers work so hard to discover ways to add an element of fun to exercise. And you can take a page from their books and learn how to gamify your own sweat sessions on those days when the promises of endorphins and calorie burn just don’t cut it. The following five ideas will help you realize that working out doesn’t have to feel entirely like work — you can smile and play while you improve your overall health.

1. Download an app (or two).

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Apps are a great place to begin if you’re new to the idea of gamification and not used to thinking about fitness in creative and imaginative ways. Developers have created everything from running scenarios amidst a zombie apocalypse to superhero games that require you to move through certain exercises before you can save the world. So pick a theme that resonates most with you, and head on over to the app store. Your workouts will never be the same.

2. Make workout challenges revolving around your fave TV show.

It’s time to Netflix and sweat! Pick three bodyweight strength training moves — one for the upper body, one for the lower body and one for the core — and assign them cues from the show you’re currently binge-watching. For example, if you’re making your way through “Parks and Recreation” for the twentieth time, do 10 triceps dips every time Ron looks pissed off, 10 bicycle crunches every time Tom yells and 10 glute bridges every time Leslie expresses her love for Ann. The more episodes you watch, the more your muscles will work.

3. Engage your favorite pet friend.

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You make sure Fido logs a workout every day, so why not maximize your time together and sweat it out yourself? Let’s say the two of you are playing a game of fetch. Chuck that ball as far as you can, and as your pup chases after it, see how many pushups you can crank out before he returns. On the next throw, do the same thing with plank holds. On the next throw, go again but with jump squats. You get the idea — create your own workout circuit as your furry child runs in circles so you both can earn clean bills of health and a cuddly night’s sleep together.

4. Trade in your fitness minutes for real-life financial gains.

If you’re someone who really needs to see some tangible incentives with your workouts, try an app that will literally pay you to work out. Sweatcoin tracks your outdoor movement and awards you coins for all of the exercise you do, allowing you to then trade in your coins for fitness gadgets, services and experiences. And if you’re motivated more so by philanthropy, Charity Miles will turn all of your steps into cold, hard cash for the nonprofit organization of your choice. Talk about sweat equity.

5. Design mini races and obstacles for yourself.

If you’re getting a little bored with your standard jogging route, create new challenges for yourself along the way. Veer off your path and tackle a set of stair runs in the middle of your 5K. When you get to the top of the steepest hill of the route, crank out 10 burpees. Or if speed is more your style, create interval runs between two sets of lamp posts and see how fast you can complete that leg of your workout. Little tweaks like these can make you work so much harder and feel that much more connected to your workout at the same time. Plus, they make for fun friendly competitions on the days that your running buddy decides to join you.