Need some motivation to hit the gym? Perhaps some free merchandise will do the trick.
At least this is the premise that Nexercise is built upon, a free iPhone app that tracks activities ranging from running and weightlifting to fencing and polo and rewards users with free and discounted merchandise in the hopes that users will adopt long-term exercise habits.
"We're trying to create a lifestyle -- not a quick fix," said co-founder Benjamin Young. "We don't focus on how many miles you ran or how many pounds you've lifted. You get points in the game for healthy behaviours."
Users can accumulate points based on the length of their workouts and for other behaviours that reinforce frequent exercise habits. Exercising with a friend or on a rainy day, for instance, allows users to accumulate bonus points.
"A lot of it is driven by research studies. If you exercise with someone, you're more likely to continue to exercise," said Young.
Receiving prizes is more of a lottery rather than direct redemption. Users with more points have greater chances of winning prizes, and those that have reached higher levels have access to more valuable prizes.
According to Young, the chances of winning a prize at the lowest level are about 25pc, with prizes ranging from $5 gift cards and coupons for items such as energy bars, up to $250 gift cards.
Having recently completed an experimental run at the University of Maryland, the app is still quite new
It has been criticised for the quality of its rewards, which Young said have improved, and will continually improve as the app matures.