The long-term benefits of exercise are exhaustive – improved heart health, stronger muscles and bones, a sharper mind, less risk of disease, and the ability to do everyday activities better. They are hugely beneficial life-changing perks, yet for many, they are clearly not motivating enough! One in four adults don't regularly exercise, and according to the latest Gen Z report, 50% want to start working out more.
And so gamified fitness is taking off and the fit-tech world is buzzing as developers crack new codes and explore new dimensions of motivation. Mixing game-like fun with exercise, gamified fitness can be as elaborate as stepping inside a virtual dance class, or as simple as scoring points and counting reps. What makes it so motivating is the direct tangible recognition and reward – an element of instant gratification that is often not apparent in other workouts.
Is instant gratification a good thing?
Instant gratification can get a bad rep as it’s associated with a need for a quick rush of dopamine (which can have some negative implications). Often, people think it’s superior to resist instant gratification in pursuit of longer-term gain. But the truth is, tapping into immediate rewards can be key to kickstarting or reviving your exercise habits. And when it comes to exercise, if you find the right balance between instant and delayed gratification, you’ll unlock a wealth of long-term motivation.
Simple ways to use rewards as workout motivation
#1 Think big picture
The first thing to do is be aware of the delayed gratification that comes from regular exercise – that's all the big-picture ways working out improves your life. Research shows that when we give weight to the ‘investment component’ of lifestyle decisions rather than merely the ‘affective components’, we experience overall improvements in life satisfaction.
#2 Focus on how you feel
The next step is to start identifying the instant rewards you can get from exercise. This could be the feel-good energy of cardio training (it only takes 10 minutes of exercise to spark an immediate mood boost), the fun and friendship that comes from a group workout, or simply the knowledge that you’re clocking up minutes towards your daily activity goal. Think about your mood, happiness and energy levels before, during and after an exercise session. Recording this in a journal (and identifying how you feel on the days you don’t work out) can help you compare how your sense of well-being differs when you exercise.
#3 Score workout points or track minutes
Using a tracker or app that records your activity levels can be great for forming habits and providing other perks (the LES MILLS+ app records your workouts). Setting a target of weekly workout minutes or daily steps can also be motivational. (Side note: Find out if 10,000 steps is really the magic number).
#4 Explore new workout worlds
The best workout is always the one you actually do, so choose ways to move that you enjoy and make sure every workout is a happy one. Say hello to extended reality (XR) and you’ll enter a new realm of enjoyment. With the new BODYCOMBAT™ and LES MILLS DANCE™ XR technology holographic motivation hits your home and you transform your living room into a virtual training arena
“The limits of your physical space expand … You’re going to be a part of much larger worlds.” This is how META Founder Mark Zuckerberg introduced the idea of extended reality fitness during the recent launch of the META Quest 3 headset in California. He spoke of the BODYCOMBAT XR experience bringing high-octane gameplay into any real-world setting. This new extended reality workout pits players against martial arts challenges across a variety of levels, spanning intergalactic deserts and neo-city skylines. You earn points for effort and technique and coaches Rachael Newsham and Dan Cohen provide coaching cues and motivation to power you through the workouts.
“It brings a fist-full of thrills,” explains Rachael Newsham. “Gamification and next-level innovation combine with the incredible moves, music and instruction that BODYCOMBAT is famous for. It’s an exhilarating experience that’s so fun you forget you’re even exercising.”
Get a sneak peek of the new LES MILLS DANCE XR
Learn how you can experience BODYCOMBAT XR and LES MILLS DANCE XR for yourself – at your place.