Need some extra incentive to keep your New Year’s resolution to get in shape? While virtual medals and badges can be motivating, so can actual rewards and even cash. Did you know that some apps not only track your activities but also rack up real prizes? From donating to charity to paying you for working out, these apps will enrich your exercise routines in more ways than one! They’re all available free for iOS and Android.
Charity Miles turns you into a sponsored athlete! Raise money for your favorite charity every time you walk, run, or cycle with this free app. Simply turn on the app, choose a charity, and press start. It tracks your distance and donates 25 cents for every mile you walk or run, or 10 cents for each mile you bike. Skating, skipping, and other human-propelled activities will work, too. Just choose the setting that’s closest to what you are doing. You can also set it for walking and running indoors, like at a mall or track court, but it doesn’t work for fixed-position activities such as a treadmill or stationary bike. The app uses your phone’s GPS and accelerometer to measure your distance. So make sure to allow the app to use your phone’s geolocation services. You can choose from over two dozen charities including the ASPCA, Autism Speaks, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, Ironman Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Pencils of Promise, DoSomething.org, Special Olympics, and Wounded Warrior Project. Corporate sponsors include Timex Sports, Johnson & Johnson, Humana, and Kenneth Cole among others.
Sworkit (derived from Simply Work It) was designed by a former Air Force Pilot, an Army officer, and a computer programmer. This fitness app strives to provide the simplest way to get a workout anywhere, anytime, with no room for excuses. Use it at home, at the gym, at work, outdoors, or while traveling. Options include cardio, strength training, yoga, stretching, and custom workouts. It contains a library of hundreds of guided workout videos. The best part is that in addition to helping get you healthy, the app lets you collect “mPoints.” These points can be used for rewards like Amazon gift cards or to buy fun merchandise such as a Fitbit. You can also donate your rewards to leading non-profit organizations including St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Make a Wish Foundation.
GymPact (or simply, Pact) rewards users with cash for sticking to their workout routines, and slaps them with a “lazy tax” if they don’t! For example, you can commit to GymPact that you’ll go to the gym three times per week for at least 30 minutes, making sure to “check in” to the app when you arrive. At the end of the week, if you stick to your plans, GymPact will deposit money into your PayPal account. If you fail, GymPact will charge you – an amount you pre-approve – for each missed workout. Rewards can range from 30 cents to $5.50 per week depending on the number of activities committed.
Nexercise (aka NexTrack or Challenges by Nexcercise) is a mobile app that tracks your physical activities without any hardware accessory, motivates you using community leaderboards, and offers mPoints when you complete certain achievements. You can use these mPoints to enter sweepstakes, earn rewards, and donate to charities. The longer you work out, the more mPoints you earn. Eventually, if you earn enough points you can redeem them toward gift cards from stores like Amazon, Lowes, CVS, and Sephora. Nexercise tracks and validates exercise activity and routes using an accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS.
Runtastic Pedometer says “Everyone should walk 10,000 steps per day – how many steps are you walking?” Whether you’re walking or hiking for pure enjoyment, to improve your general health and fitness, or as part of a specific diet and weight loss routine, the Runtastic Pedometer helps you reach your goals. This app automatically counts steps, distance, and speed. You can set it to beep every 1000 steps. It works in your pants or jacket pocket, hand or arm, in a sports bag or purse. Runtastic integrates with your MyFitnessPal account, and partners with mPoints so you can earn mPoints by logging your walking workouts. You can redeem these points for sweepstakes entries and for gift cards at various retailers like CVS or Amazon ($1 for every 2,500 mPoints). Or donate to one of 20 nonprofits ($1 for every 1,000 points).
EveryMove is an app that rewards users for completing tasks like walking, jogging, and cycling. You can even earn rewards for mowing the lawn and walking the dog. The rewards include movie rentals from Redbox, Amazon gift cards, and donations to Make a Wish just to name a few. You get more points when you do things with frequency and when your activity is socially validated. If you’re just doing manual entries, it will take a long time to earn a reward. EveryMove integrates with your favorite apps and devices. Some employers and health plans also sponsor challenges on EveryMove.
JustMove from Mobile Health Solutions helps you get in shape while making every step count towards a bigger cause worth walking for. Keep your motivation up by achieving your fitness goals and earning a variety of rewards such as discounts, coupons, and free samples of health and fitness products and services. Contribute your steps to a charity or NGO, or help an individual voice their cause and/or raise money. Join a wellness movement and walk in support of a social cause – or start your own movement! Or, take up a fitness challenge to win fitness rewards and keep you motivated. Also earn trophies and badges when you reach fitness milestones and cover distances.
Working toward a long-term goal while rewarding yourself for steps completed along the way helps to create a sense of accomplishment. Now you can turn your smartphone into a personal fitness trainer and accountability partner to boost your chance of success!