What do video gamers and fitness buffs have in common? At first thought, not much. The former sit around in front of a TV while the latter engage in high levels of physical activity. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll see these two types of people are actually very similar psychologically – and that’s the theory behind Fitocracy.
The game provides a fun and almost addictive way to improve fitness levels: Members “level up” by earning points for their workouts, and new levels unveil new challenges to push them out of their comfort zones. In gist, Fitocracy thrives off the very same motivational strategies required to maintain fitness. And according to THIS ARTICLE, those strategies are as follows:
1. Goal setting. In video games, the goals are very clear and you know the exact steps you need to take to succeed. The same goes for fitness, and this is important both in terms of determining the path (i.e., program) and staying motivated to stay on track.
2. Feedback. Games give you constant information about your achievements and what you can do better, providing an opportunity for mastery. There’s always a way to get to the next level, just like in fitness – and the need to succeed is a huge motivator for many people.
3. Progress. Getting to the next level in a game is progress, just like achieving a fitness goal. This often pushes people to keep going in both realms.
4. Control. In video games, you get to choose your path and the skills you want to improve, just like in fitness. This freedom of choice helps people feel empowered.
5. Community. Many games allow you to join other members on a quest, including Fitocracy. Being part of a team is extremely motivating for some people, especially athletes. Actual relationships develop amongst gamers, and this keeps them committed.
6. Competition. Whether the quest is done alone or as part of a team, competitive people thrive on the need to beat the game or another team – and this keeps them motivated to achieve the goal.
7. Accountability. For those competing as part of a team, knowing that other members are counting on them to succeed is a prime motivator.
The fitness world is always trying to fight the gaming trend, but perhaps we should be trying to embrace it. Maybe we’re not that different after all…
Filed under: What We Love This Week