To celebrate April, also known as Move More Month, I’m excited to share with you several ways you can find motivation for your daily activity! Movement in and of itself has many intrinsic rewards both for physical and mental health, but we learned all about those benefits back in P.E. class – let’s talk about something slightly more enticing: money. If you’re like me, a lot of days you just don’t feel like being active, even though you know it’s good for you. Too many other responsibilities and pleasures vie for your attention, so what’s going to keep you active day after day, week after week? For me, it’s been the ability to monetize my physical activity and the feeling that I’m “multi-tasking” while I walk, run, bike, play a sport, etc.
SHOW ME THE MONEY! HOW DO I GET REWARDED FOR MOVEMENT?!
- Check with your health insurance provider (or your HR person at work) to get the details on your wellness plan. I work in the insurance industry, and it’s been so encouraging to see major players like UnitedHealthcare implement plans that lower the cost of your monthly insurance premium in exchange for walking a certain amount of steps. Other carriers have established incentives where you can reduce your deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurance kicks in) by completing regular exercise, wellness exams, etc. Don’t leave this money on the table – it can add up to HUGE savings considering the cost of healthcare today!
- Invest in a wearable tracker. This is your quickest way to access monetary rewards. A tracker is not mandatory if you would rather use a pedometer app on your phone instead, but I prefer wearable devices since they easily integrate with so many more programs and they can track not only your steps, but also your sleep, pulse, etc. If you only exercise outside, the pedometer apps might be fine for you, but if you frequent the treadmill or mainly exercise indoors, you’ll want to invest in a wearable since they count both indoor and outdoor steps. My brand of choice is Fitbit, but there are plenty of other good options out there.
- Link, Link, Link. Achievement and Walgreens Balance Rewards are the two “set it and forget it” programs I really love. Achievement gives you a nice variety of ways to earn, in addition to steps. You can link apps like Foursquare (earn points by checking in to healthy locations like the gym or a park), Twitter (earn points by tweeting health related content) and MyFitnessPal (earn by logging food, weight, etc). They also offer quick surveys you can take to earn points (my recent one was, “did you get the flu this year?”) I like their holistic approach to rewards, rather than only focusing on step count. Once you hit the points threshhold, you’ll be rewarded with a gift card. Walgreens Balance Rewards has similar point-earning opportunities like logging weight, steps, and blood pressure, with the difference being that 1,000 points = $1 credit to use at Walgreens. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I drop into Walgreens and get my items free with my Balance Rewards points!
- Try a fitness challenge from WayBetter like StepBet. With this, you will have to pay the “bet” fee up front, but if you reach your step goals for the whole challenge, you get your money back AND usually end up making money (I made $10 on my first 6 week challenge). They also have RunBet, DietBet and SweatBet, depending on what your goals are. There is also an app called Healthy Wage for those whose focus is weight loss – you bet on how much weight you can lose and if you reach your goal, you win the money.
- Test out a reward-based pedometer app like WinWalk. I’m currently testing this one out and it seems to have potential. Only downside so far is that it does not track indoor steps. Once I rack up points, I can trade them in for gift cards from Amazon, Target, Nike and other major brands.
Also, why not Take the Pledge to be more active and be entered to win an Apple Watch or one of several other fitness related gift cards? (Note: I am not employed by UnitedHealthcare – I just love their focus on physical activity)
I hope these tips will help you put movement to work for you and I’d love to hear what motivates you to stay active each day! Are you addicted to your tracker like I am??