Get Rewarded when you Exercise
As far as I’m concerned, exercise of almost any form is already fairly rewarding. It’s good for your health, it’s good for your general wellbeing, it makes you look and feel good, it can get you out in the real world doing cool things and visiting nice places and the release of endorphins gives you a natural high – What more could you want from a simple bike ride, run or even a walk? Well, how about some hard cold cash or money off vouchers? Yep, that’s right, there are several schemes out there that reward you financially for the exercise and activities that you do. I’ve been looking at these for a while and have recently taken the plunge by signing up to some of them. The rewards they offer vary from scheme to scheme and the activities that count differ too, so, here’s a quick round up of some of the schemes available.
The most promising looking one at the moment is the UK based Bounts as the rewards seem to be better than most, they seem to reward you for more activities than many of the schemes and they connect to a wide range of tracking devices and apps. That said, there’s no reason not to sign up to multiple different award schemes – if you’re doing the activities anyway then why not get rewarded by as many schemes as possible!
The UK-based exercise reward scheme Bounts rewards you in points (known as ‘bounts’) when you walk, exercise or go to the gym. You simply connect your Bounts account to your favourite activity tracking app and the points start flowing in. As well as gaining points for walking, running, cycling and other exercise recorded by your activity tracker, you can also use the GPS on your device to sign in to various gyms and leisure centres. Just check in when you are at a participating venue and you will be rewarded. When you’ve amassed enough points, these can be converted into vouchers to be used at retailers and restaurants such as Amazon, Morrisons, John Lewis, Pizza Express, M&S and Cineworld.
Here’s a full list of the rewards on offer: https://shop.bounts.it/rewards.html
The Bounts app will connect with:
- Apple Health Kit
- Google Fit
- Moves App
- Map My Run
There’s a Premuim Membership option that allows you to get rewarded for more activities and gain more points per activity, and a premium+ membership for even greater rewards.
|Free Members||Premium Members (£9.99 / yr)||Premium+ Members (£14.99 / yr)|
|Up to 7,000 steps per day||Up to 14,000 steps per day||Up to 21,000 steps per day|
|Up to 1 venue check-in||Up to 2 venue check-ins||Up to 3 venue check-ins|
|Up to 20 minutes of tracked exercise||Up to 40 minutes of tracked exercise||Up to 60 minutes of tracked exercise|
|10 points per activity / check in||20 points per activity / check in||30 points per activity / check in|
|Up to 15 points per day||Up to 90 points per day||Up to 180 points per day|
As a basic member you’ll need to complete 7,000 in a day to bank five points – about the equivalent of walking 5km. Premium members can get rewarded for twice this number of steps and premium+ members for 21,000 steps.
An exercise activity needs to be at least 20 minutes long to count, and you can’t break up one activity into several 20 minute ones as they have to be at least an hour apart. Cycling, swimming, working out at the gym and running all count as would other activities tracked with your GPS device. Of course, you get extra rewards for running as this also counts towards your step total.
Venue Check ins
Venue check-ins are for participating venues only and you have to be there for at least 30 minutes.
There is also an extra reward scheme within the app that allows you to spin a wheel to win more rewards. You gain spins for each activity you do and each spin of the wheel gives you the chance of winning more ‘bounts’ or maybe a special prize.
All in all, this seems like the best scheme for me so far because it rewards you with actual gift vouchers rather than just money off vouchers. However, there have been some teething problems with the app and the website and so far I haven’t got everything tracking as it should. In some cases, activities are showing up in my Bounts feed from Strava but I haven’t been rewarded for them, in other cases, steps from Garmin Connect simply aren’t syncing to the app. I’m hoping these are just teething problems and it will sort itself out.
If you are signing up then use the following link as we’ll both get an extra 100 points added to our accounts: https://bounts.it/registration?getme100points=alynyslas885
Running Heroes offers a similar scheme to Bounts. You gain points for your physical activities and these points can be exchanged for rewards at a number of retailers. These rewards are generally in the form of money off vouchers or special offers, which doesn’t make it quite as appealing as the gift cards available from Bounts, but it is still worthwhile signing up.
As with Bounts, if you use my referral code to sign up we both get some extra bonus points: https://uk.runningheroes.com/?r=1&code=26kw
Running Heroes will connect with the following apps:
- Garmin Connect
- Manual GPX and TCX uploads
You can see a full list of current rewards here: https://uk.runningheroes.com/rewards/running
In addition to the rewards, there are also Challenges. These provide you with a challenge such as running 20 miles within a week or earning at least 120 points in a week and if you complete the challenge you are entered into a draw to win a prize.
So far the website has worked well and connection to the various apps has worked too. I’m not sure of the exact number of points you get for each activity but it seems to be related to the time spent exercising.
Pact is a little different and not one that I’ve tried yet as you have to put money on the line in the first place. Essentially you are gambling with your exercise! For instance, you can make a ‘Pact’ to do the following:
- Exercise for 30 minutes
- Walk 10,000 Steps
- Log 3 meals per day via MyFitness Pall
- Post photos of fruit and veg that you are eating
You then make a Pact to do up to 3 of these things for a certain number of days, and you set a penalty that you will pay for days that you don’t achieve the goal. if you don’t achieve your goal then you pay up, if you achieve it then you earn money from those who failed.
You can log steps from:
- Jawbone UP
- Moves App
and exercise activities from:
The Pact App is available for both iOS and Android.
I haven’t tried this one as it doesn’t t allow you to connect with other activity tracking services. Instead you use their app to track your activity. I have an all singing, all dancing Garmin Fenix 3 GPS watch that I use to track such things so don’t want to have to carry my phone and use an app to track exercise as well. Many people do use their phones to track their activities though so it may be of use to you.
The Nexercise app allows you to log over 200 different activities. and you can earn instant rewards (usually in the form of money off vouchers) each time you log a workout. However, the bigger rewards come through earning mPoints for each activity you log. You can log up to three workouts per day to gain mPoints, but there is a second tier of points called Nexercise XP points and you can log as many activities as you want per day for these.
You can convert mPoints into gift card rewards from major marketers such as Amazon.com, Home Depot, CVS, Walmart, and Best Buy, but it is US based. You can redeem your mPoints for chances in sweepstakes for larger prizes, such as a $100 gift card and you can also donate your mPoints to over 20 major charities.
They also have a weight tracker and you can earn mPoints for logging your weight.
Nexercise can motivate you to pay attention to your activities and to log them throughout the day. With the huge listing of activities, you won’t feel like you are missing credit for any exercise.
If you feel as though you are getting enough of a reward from your exercise just from the health and wellbeing benefits then you might like the idea of Charity Miles. Instead of earning rewards for yourself, your exercise activities can be converted into donations to charities.
Just install the Charity Miles app and choose a charity. Then when you go for a walk, run or ride start up the app and log your activity in the Charity Miles App. It uses the GPS in your mobile phone to track your mileage and then converts these miles into points which are then converted into cash for your chosen charity. It works only for dedicated workouts logged with GPS, so it doesn’t count steps per day or mileage on a treadmill or stationary bike.
You can choose from over two dozen charities, including the ASPCA, Habitat for Humanity, Nature Conservancy, Alzheimer’s Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society etc.
Charity Miles is available for both iOS and Android.
Higi is a new one to me and seems to work the same way as the standard rewards model from the likes of Bounts and Running Heroes. You connect it with your activity tracking apps and then earn points for activities that you do. You earn points for GPS-based activities, steps, and higi Station and Foursquare check-ins.
Rewards come in the form of special offers. You can see the full list available at the moment here: https://higi.com/reward
Here’s a handy dandy infographic to show you how the various rewards stack up.
That works out at quite a few points per activity which is good. It is very much a US based scheme, but their website is nice and in the states they have ‘Higi Stations’ where you can easily measure Weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), Pulse and Blood Pressure and gain points for doing so.
I’ve signed up to this one to give it a whirl and will let you know of any problems or standout features once I;ve used it for a while. So far though it looks pretty good. I can’t find a referral code anywhere though, so you’ll just have to sign up for yourself at https://higi.com
How they work
Where does the money come from? These apps and reward schemes are all commercial ventures, so you may be wondering how they make money and where the money to give us rewards come from. As mentioned above, some such as Pact are based on gambling with your own money to earn money from those that fail to meet their goals. The others all have slightly different business models, but in general the money comes from several streams.
- Some of the schemes have premium subscription models. Members pay a subscription and that generates an income. Presumably many members don’t do enough exercise to cover their subscription so a profit is made.
- Sport and fitness organisations pay the various schemes directly in the hope that they will increase physical activity and participation for their communities. These organisations include gyms and leisure centres and governing bodies such as the Lawn Tennis Association. The idea is that if these schemes provide an incentive for you and I to exercise more, we’ll end up visiting the gym or leisure centre more and therefore increase revenues for such establishments. In effect it’s just advertising.
- Rather than paying you in actual cash, these schemes tend to offer money off vouchers or Gift Cards for particular stores. Once again, these stores presumably pay the schemes a certain amount either directly or as commission on any sales made through them.
At the end of the day, if the scheme is free to join and you are exercising anyway, then there’s no harm in signing up to several of them, connecting your activity trackers and earning rewards when you sweat. If you don’t already exercise, then maybe signing up to one or more of the schemes will be just the incentive that you need to be a little more active.