What is the issue?:
Exercise and physical activity is a very important part of our lives as it keeps our bodies healthy and even affects our mental health. Most people are unaware that exercise affects our mental health and only keep to the idea that it affects our body’s physique and physical health. The effects of not having enough exercise are devastating, ranging from leading to different types of chronic diseases / illnesses to worsening mental health. Regarding lack of exercise’s physical effects, it raises the risks of a variety of problems. Problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart failure, heart diseases, lowering quality of sleep, and cancer are just a few examples. And with mental health it raises the risks of depression, dementia, increased levels of stress, and lack of self-esteem and confidence are just some.
It is pretty obvious that most would not want to experience any of the listed risked issues above but if even so, why don’t they just exercise? It can’t be that hard now can it?
Well, yes it isn’t always that hard to exercise but there are some reasons as to why they don’t. The main reason being the lack of motivation or money. Usually to exercise most people make a plan to follow but it does take some effort and research to make a good plan that fits towards your personal needs and goals and some people are simply not motivated to do so. The lack of motivation being present could stem from the fact that exercising appears to be boring to them or the idea that the exercise wouldn’t work fast enough or at all, especially when aiming for a specific ideal physique. Another reason could be the affordability of exercise, especially when talking about dumbbells and the specific equipment regardless of the more ‘heavier’ types of physical activity. Sometimes people are just not able to afford gym memberships or the equipment to do what they want to do for exercise.
Idea for combating the issue:
An idea that could be used to combat the issue of lacking exercise would be to create a hybrid of a ‘fitness’ and game app to create a fun and engaging way for people to exercise, similar to what Pokemon Go did. This product idea could and definitely would take a long time to create as games take up to around 3-5 years to be produced at a good quality. But overlooking that limitation, the app would make a good way to motivate people to go out for at least their required minimum amount of exercise (around 30 minutes) a day.
This sort of application would definitely need a way to keep people engaged and be excited about continuously using and actually doing what the app’s sole purpose is. If theoretically this app was developed to be released this year or next, the ‘embedded’ game would be developed as a Gacha RPG/Adventure game, as currently the game Genshin Impact (a Gacha rpg, adventure game) has become extremely popular since its public launch last year (2020) with a very active fanbase and community. Both the aspect of having it as a gacha and rpg/adventure game would create a reason for users to continuously want to use it, with an in depth story to follow and the aspect of collecting characters in the game to continue onwards. The rpg aspect also makes it easier for the developing team to add more content to keep its user base engaged with the app. Another feature that a lot of people would enjoy is a friend feature where players can friend each other to compare step counts, growth (there will be a feature that will show the players growth analytics per week) and scores, to add a competitive nature. To ensure that the app’s purpose is fulfilled through the ‘embedded’ game it would need to have a very important part of the game’s mechanics tied in with exercise. Energy points would be rewarded through doing a certain amount of steps, a point per 40 steps and if the user doesn’t do the minimum amount of steps within the day the points will not be rewarded to the user to use the next day (by default, a user starts with a 100pts when first downloading the game). The minimum amount of steps a player would need to take daily is about 4000 steps, as on average it would take 30 minutes for someone to get that many steps and around 30 minutes of walking would be the suggested amount of exercise per day for an adult. The step count would be measured by a user allowing the app to connect to their phone or apple watches health app (apple’s health app or google fitness app). The rewarded energy points are the only way to progress further in the game, with its use being to enter dungeons and claim rewards from said dungeons. The dungeon rewards would be used towards upgrading weapons, armour and characters. The energy points can be compared to those in the game ‘Heir of light’, essentially the pokeballs and pokestops in Pokemon Go and the resin in genshin impact.
Note: This idea only covers the more the easier type of exercise (mainly aimed at walking, but people can jog/run/hike) because, if this is catered towards those who truly need a fun way to motivate themselves to exercise and in some cases, don’t have the money to buy the correct and good quality equipment, they won’t have the ‘strength or stamina’ to do the more ‘harder’ types of exercise (dumbbells and pushups for examples). Yes, heart rate can be measured as a way to see if someone’s done the exercise but not everyone has a fitbit, apple watch or heart rate monitor to be able to monitor their heart rate and someone could be watching a horror movie to increase their heart rate. Also, for using an app to track and motivate someone to exercise, it would be a lot more technical to prove that someone has actually don’t the exercise.