The brilliant addictiveness of combining activity trackers with radio dramas

Guys, I have a confession to make.

I am addicted to activity trackers.

I realized this back in 2010 when I first got Runkeeper. After tracking one measly activity, I knew I had a problem: I FUCKING LOVED making numbers bigger. I needed to. Like little exercise Pokémon, I had to collect them all. Leave it to me to make a competition against myself – but thank you Runkeeper for fueling my addiction and making running a lifelong habit.

Fast forward to February, 2012. Six to Start, a genius company, launches Zombies, Run! The company calls it a “smartphone fitness game” – and I guess that's a good and literal way to describe it – but it’s actually a brilliant interactive radio drama where you unlock the story by exercising.

I love zombies. I participated in Run For Your Lives (a 5K obstacle course where you also run from zombies while they try to steal three “life flags” around your waist) before the company went defunct last year. Zombies, Run! Is basically Run For Your Lives (but in your head, since there aren’t actually any zombies in the places where you run. Or, I mean… if there are… you might want to look into that.) But as of today, there are three FULL seasons of Zombies, Run! – including dozens of actors and hours of content – and the story is legitimately compelling. Last year, when my knee was fucked and I couldn’t run, I was in constant pain, sure, but honestly I was most pissed because I couldn’t listen to Zombies, Run!

…Which is why when Six to Start released The Walk last December, it was pretty much the best Christmas present ever.

The Walk is a “500 mile thriller where every step counts” – unlike Zombies, Run! that plays its content while you run, The Walk runs constantly in the background on your phone. You can click on things and fiddle with your route and see how much you’ve been walking (and how much more you have to walk) but the story unlocks with time, constantly. It’s a subtle but very effective (and addictive) way to get someone to move more. Why? Because the story is awesome. Seriously. It’s well acted, well mixed, and absorbing. In under half a year, I’ve walked well over 500 miles, largely due to this game. On Thursdays, when I work from home, I treat myself to an hour walk in the park with my dog, listening to the snippets of The Walk I’ve collected over the week. In fact, I’m almost done with all of the chapters and I’m slightly panicked as to what I’m going to when the story’s over. Six to Start, if you are reading this, PLEASE MAKE ME MORE.

If you’d asked me before this year if I believed I was a fitness nut, I would have laughed at you. But I review my Up24 band data several times a day, I pride myself in having completed 38 Runkeeper activities last month, and I think Zombies, Run! and The Walk are better entertainment than television.

Oh, and, thanks to all these things, I just ran 4.25 miles today – the longest and fastest I’ve ever run in my life.

If you like good things, go download  these apps now. They’re available on both iTunes and Google Play. If you don’t have a smartphone yet, go get one, just for this.

Trust me. You’ll thank me.

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