Exercising and getting free stuff in return is now a thing, writes bestfit’s Cheryl Hersey
The concept of rewards for activity has been around for a while with nhs initiatives such as cash incentives for losing weight, or money off your health insurance for going to the gym.
More recently, open-app technology is making this platform more accessible and exciting, as companies can tap into the data from wearables to easily track how much activity a person is doing and reward them accordingly. Insurance companies such as Vitality and Health Rewards now reward healthy lifestyle choices with big discounts on things like spa breaks, new bikes and flights, reducing premiums in accordance with a healthier lifestyle. I’ve been trialling a couple of rewards programmes to see if it’s worth the effort. I’ve always been pretty active so I was keen to see what I could earn.
The platforms work by tracking your daily activity through a wearable like Jawbone or Fitbit, through scanning your membership card at a participating gym, or by syncing with gym equipment which records and tracks your progress. There is some set up time involved; the idea is your wearable talks to your activity platform, which can then credit you automatically when you reach certain goals. I had to spend some time creating accounts, linking and syncing but once it’s done, that’s it.
I’ve never really been interested in using a wearable or activity tracker before but it’s proving to be a really interesting experience. Outside of my designated sport or exercise sessions I have learned that I am quite inactive. The wearable has made me realise how few steps I actually take when I’m not exercising and it’s encouraged me to move more regularly, all on the promise of free coffee if I take enough steps. My original goal of 10,000 steps a day, which at first seemed like quite a difficult number to achieve, has quickly been replaced with an average of 12,500 – 15,000, just by taking trips to the post office and newsagents. The rewards incentives are making me up my game in a new way.
I’ve been using two platforms simultaneously – who wouldn’t want twice the rewards for the same amount of activity? With the first, Fettle, I’ve enjoyed several free flat whites, a free cinema ticket and 50% off a pair of new trainers – all in the last four weeks. I’m also trialling Bounts, which seems like a slower burn. With 200 points earned so far there’s still a way to go until I get the 2,800 I need for a £10 shopping voucher. Through Bounts, I’m also earning credits for a ‘spin of the wheel,’ a chance to win extra rewards every day you take at least 7,000 steps – although I’m yet to win anything – it’s quite addictive!
Like anything in the early stages there are limitations; only selected gyms are on board and not all activity can be tracked. Crucially, however, to get the most out of these platforms you need a wearable – or you need to sign up to a platform where one is provided. Based on my experience I’d really recommend giving it a try. Once you’re all set up, you have nothing to lose, except perhaps a little extra weigh