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8 Gamified Apps to Live Healthier in a Fun Way
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8 Gamified Apps to Live Healthier in a Fun Way

HealthReporter author Nadzeya Sankovich
Written by Nadzeya Sankovich | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on January 5, 2023
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6 min
8 Gamified Apps to Live Healthier in a Fun Way
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Are you tired of unused health apps stacking up on your phone? According to surveys, traditional habit trackers and survey apps may not be enough to engage digital health consumers.1

These regular health apps can be perceived as boring or tedious to use. They often rely on self-reporting and manual data entry, which can be time-consuming and may not appeal to all users.

While traditional health apps lack interactive elements, gamification can make healthcare routines more enjoyable and immersive. So, what is gamification? How can it improve user engagement and encourage people to adopt healthy behaviors?

Let’s explore these questions and learn more about the benefits of gamification in health apps. Health Reporter has curated a list of 8 top-rated gamified apps to enhance your healthcare experience.

Understanding Gamification: Definition and Benefits

Gamification of health apps refers to the use of game design elements in non-game contexts to motivate and engage users. This can include points, badges, leaderboards, and interactive and immersive features such as virtual coaches or challenges.

There are several benefits of gamification in health apps:

#1 Increased motivation

By incorporating game design elements, health apps can create a sense of competition and accomplishment, motivating users.

#2 Improved user engagement

Gamification can make using a health app more enjoyable, encouraging people to do it more regularly and for longer periods.

#3 Improved adherence and motivation

Gamification can help users develop and maintain healthy habits by setting goals and providing rewards.

#4 Feedback

Gamification can provide feedback and encouragement to help users stay on track and progress toward their health goals.

Gamification benefits for health apps
Health Reporter edit

The Science of Gamification: How It Can Help Promote Health and Boost Motivation

There is also scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of gamification. A systematic review found that gamification in health apps can improve outcomes such as physical activity, healthy eating, and medication adherence.2

Another study found that a gamified weight loss app resulted in significant weight loss among participants. Gamification elements, such as challenges and rewards, were associated with increased user motivation. Those who were more engaged with the gamified app had better weight loss outcomes.3

Gamification also helps people with chronic conditions manage their health more effectively. For example, a study of a gamified app for people with type 2 diabetes found that the app was successful in helping participants increase self-regulation and improve their blood sugar control.4

A different study discovered that a gamified app for people with asthma improved medication adherence and asthma control.5

Gamification benefits for health
Health Reporter edit

Overall, the evidence suggests that gamification can be an effective way to create immersive and engaging experiences for users. So, Health Reporter has compiled a list of the top gamified apps to make your healthcare routine more enjoyable.

Whether you want to improve your fitness, manage a chronic condition, or simply relax, keep reading to discover fun and engaging tools for your well-being.

#1 Zombies, Run! – Turns Running Into a Zombie Adventure

Zombies, Run! is an app that makes running exciting by turning it into a game about being chased by zombies. Co-created by award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman, this app provides motivation and a story to help you get moving daily.

Zombies, Run! screenshots
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It is easy to use, with various game plots and customizable preferences such as GPS tracking and step counting. As you run, you can participate in missions and gather supplies to defend your base against zombie attacks.

The app also offers virtual races for added accountability and competition with other users. Whether you love horror stories or simply need a reason to push yourself, Zombies, Run! is an exciting way to get running.

Zombies, Run!
  • Zombie chases
  • Walk, jog, or run anywhere
  • 400+ missions with new missions added every week
  • $ Free, offers in-app purchases
Learn More

#2 Burn Your Fat With Me!! – Fitness for Anime Lovers

Burn Your Fat With Me!! is a workout app that uses anime characters as virtual training partners. It motivates users through “moé,” a Japanese term used to describe feelings of adoration toward cute characters.

Burn Your Fat With Me!! screenshots
Health Reporter edit

The app features a story mode with 800 voiced lines of dialogue and 15 episodes that increase in difficulty. While the app’s premise may be unusual, this way to motivate users to work out might be effective.

Burn Your Fat With Me!!
  • For fitness and anime lovers
  • Personalized training modes
  • A cast of popular Japanese voice actors
  • $ Free, offers in-app purchases
Learn More

#3 How We Feel – Understand Your Emotions

How We Feel is a well-being journal app. It has been recognized as one of the top 15 apps of 2022 and was selected for the App Store’s “Cultural Impact” award.6

The app helps users track and understand their emotions, identify patterns, and practice strategies for regulating emotions in healthy ways.

Users can check in with their current emotional state and explore contributing factors. There are hundreds of helpful videos and activities to help you feel the way you want.

How We Feel
  • Learn about your emotions
  • Spot patterns as they appear over time
  • Step-by-step video strategies for well-being
  • $ Free
Learn More

#4 Hops – Journey of Tree Spirit: Explore the Forest While Being Active

The Hops app combines fitness tracking with game design elements to create a fun and engaging way to stay active. It converts users’ daily exercise into energy used by tree spirit characters called Hops.

Hops – Journey of Tree Spirit screenshots
Health Reporter edit

The app allows users to track their fitness progress and measure their walking workouts. As you take about 500 steps, new crafting materials become available in the game. You can use them to personalize the Hop character’s appearance and collect Hops friends by completing missions.

The app also integrates with Apple Health and writes activity data from it.

Hops – Journey of Tree Spirit
  • Gamified activity tracker
  • Help Hops grow by achieving daily goals
  • Suitable for kids
  • $ Free, offers in-app purchases
Learn More

#5 Fitness RPG – Train Your Team of Heroes as You Маkе Steps

The retro-cool Fitness RPG app is a role-playing game that combines an engaging storyline with a step tracker.

In the app, users help a team of heroes level up and save Fitland from the Dark Force by going for walks in real life. Characters have conversations, compete in battles, earn special equipment, and team up to defeat enemies.

Fitness RPG screenshots
Health Reporter edit

Main storylines and side quests keep the game exciting and provide a sense of progression. It encourages users to get more involved rather than just tracking steps as an elaborate step counter.

Fitness RPG
  • Role-playing video game as a pedometer
  • Convert your steps into energy to train your team of heroes
  • Compete and fight with other players
  • $ Free, offers in-app purchases
Learn More

#6 Galaxy Fit – Stand Up to Save the Galaxy

Galaxy Fit is a fitness app that uses gamification to motivate users to stand up and exercise for a few minutes.

It simulates the player’s movements on display, showing the way of a spaceship through the universe. The gameplay involves dodging asteroids by moving the body, encouraging users to be active and try standing while playing the game.

Galaxy Fit screenshots
Health Reporter edit

The app helps people to incorporate more movement into their daily routines, leading to increased calorie burn and improved cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health.

Galaxy Fit
  • Control ships with your body
  • Space fitness to burn calories
  • Play standing in the office
  • $ Free, offers in-app purchases
Learn More

#7 Dakim BrainFitness – Cognitive Exercise Program for Senior Living

Dakim BrainFitness is a digital health app that uses gamification techniques to help seniors improve and protect their brain health.

Dakim BrainFitness screenshots
Health Reporter edit

It features thousands of exercises that use videos, graphics, and music to provide a comprehensive brain training routine. The app also includes technology that tailors the focus and challenge of the exercises in real time.

According to research, older adults without dementia who used the BrainFitness program saw significant improvements in memory and language skills, as well as attention, focus, and concentration.7

However, the study was partially funded by Dakim, the app’s creator, which may have influenced the results.

Dakim BrainFitness
  • Improve your memory and keep your mind sharp
  • For adults 50+
  • Clinically proven brain training program
  • $ Free, offers in-app purchases
Learn More

#8 PlayFitt – Daily Rewards for Your Movement

PlayFitt detects phone movement during workouts and rewards users with coins for power-ups. Also, it sets daily and weekly goals, such as completing a certain number of push-ups, squats, steps, stairs, and active breaks.

PlayFitt screenshots
Health Reporter edit

PlayFitt has a social aspect, with a leaderboard and the ability to add friends. Users can exchange their coins for prizes such as gift cards, like from Starbucks or Amazon, or the option to plant a tree.

PlayFitt
  • Grow with the help of machine learning
  • Small, bite-sized movement goals
  • Unlock the power of consistent activities
  • $ Free, offers in-app purchases
Learn More

Afterword

Our search for gamified health apps has yielded a diverse selection to make your health journey more enjoyable. From virtual fitness challenges to reward-based tracking systems, these apps use game-like elements to keep you motivated and on track with your goals.

Gamified health apps are on the rise, with the global market projected to reach $7.7 billion by 2027. Furthermore, it will experience a compound annual growth rate of 42.8% from 2022 to 2027.8

Annual growth rate for gamified health apps
Health Reporter edit

As more and more people turn to digital solutions for their health needs, it’s important for these apps to be not only helpful but also engaging and fun to use. With the constantly evolving digital health field, we’re excited to see the new innovative ways that gamification will support our well-being in the future.

References
  1. The Use of Gamification and Incentives in Mobile Health Apps to Improve Medication Adherence: Scoping Review
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35188475/
  2. Gamification for health and wellbeing: A systematic review of the literature
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6096297/
  3. Social Incentives and Gamification to Promote Weight Loss: The LOSE IT Randomized, Controlled Trial
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6153249/
  4. A systematized review on diabetes gamification:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8004582/
  5. Monitoring Adherence to Asthma Inhalers Using the InspirerMundi App: Analysis of Real-World, Medium-Term Feasibility Studies
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35047915/
  6. The How We Feel App: Helping Emotions Work for Us, Not Against Us
    https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/the-how-we-feel-app-helping-emotions-work-for-us-not-against-us/
  7. Effect of a Computerized Brain Exercise Program on Cognitive Performance in Older Adults:
    https://www.ajgponline.org/article/S1064-7481(13)00117-6/fulltext
  8. Global Healthcare Gamification Market Size, Share, Trends, COVID-19 Impact & Growth Analysis Report:
    https://www.marketdataforecast.com/market-reports/healthcare-gamification-market
HealthReporter author Nadzeya Sankovich
Written by
Nadzeya Sankovich is a professional journalist. She delivers high-quality, well-researched articles, making them clear, compelling, and easy to read. With a lifelong passion for the health and wellness industry, Nadzeya wants to make health knowledge accessible to everyone.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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