How to make personal fitness entertaining
One of the key principles of designing for Personal Metrics is that the experience must be entertaining. Incorporating a game-like analogies into the experience brings in important elements such as competition, scoring, and rewards. Fitness and staying healthy is not a priority for many people. The thought of going to a gym or running is exhausting, discouraging, and just plain boring. In 2006 Nike partnered with Apple to develop a product that would change the viewpoint of fitness.
Nike and Apple launched Nike+ which is a small sensor for your shoe and an attachment for the iPod Nano. While you run, the sensor transmits running data to the iPod. After the run, you sync your iPod with your computer and the data is sent to the Nike+ website (free) where you can view your run history and see pace, mileage, time, and calories burned.
Giving people the ability to see their progress over time, helps them quantify their improvements and motivates them to continue pushing their limits. However, if achieving a personal best isn’t enough motivation, there is also a community of runners where you can join group challenges (who can run the most miles in a month) and compete against runners from all over the world.
Veronic Noone (recently profiled in the July 2009 issue of Wired) started using Nike+ in June 2008 when she weighed 225 pounds. Her first run was 1.67 miles and took 18 minutes and 36 seconds. A year later, she is 145 pounds and has run 95 times (for a total of 48 hours and 28,672 calories burned).
Veronica says that Nike+ “just made running so much more entertaining”. She notes that seeing progress was a huge motivator for her to continue with her plan – without the history and proof of progression, she would have lost her focus.
By providing tools that make people feel like exercise is more of entertainment than an expected chore, Nike is changing how people approach fitness.