There are countless reasons to lose weight. Better health, better sex and just looking better in a pair jeans. Obviously, some people don’t give a crap about those things and let themselves get, and stay, fat as hell.
But what if they could win prizes for getting into shape? And not just prizes but money to spend on stuff. Would it be enough to get people to get off their ass or away from the buffet? The UK is about to find out with a new app launching this week on iPhones.
A free smartphone app that will pay people to be physically active launches on Wednesday in Britain, with users given digital “sweatcoins” depending on how many steps they take that can be exchanged for rewards or traded like money.
It’s the latest initiative in an emerging fitness economy that includes all manner of monitoring devices, apps that reward activity with vouchers and even experiments in offering cheap insurance to people who can demonstrate they exercise.
Sweatcoin offers one coin for every 1,000 steps taken. Walk, or run, enough and within weeks users can save up enough to exchange their Sweatcoins in for products or services in the Sweatcoin marketplace. Rewards include running shoes,infra-red clothing and fitness classes.
It remains to be seen whether this idea will work in the UK, and possibly in the US, but I’m a little skeptical just because of the rewards. Sure, no sneakers and workout clothes are great if you workout all the time but kind of pointless for the people the who’d get the most out of this app. Making the rewards bigger and less fitness based — I bet people would walk a marathon for an iPad mini or walk across country for a new TV — will really get some fat asses in gear.