We all know that exercising is good for us. We’ve read the articles, heard about the studies, suffered through lectures in school, and we understand its importance. Regular exercise keeps us healthier for longer, lowers blood pressure, increases energy, and can even help us feel better when we’re in a bad mood. The hardest part of exercising is finding the motivation to get started. But what most people don’t know is that there are apps that actually pay you to exercise.
That’s right, next time you’re feeling unmotivated, think about the extra cash you could be missing out on. Now you have your health and your wallet to feel guilty about if you skip a workout (or three). There are few better incentives than the promise of easy money. The only problem is, some make it much easier than others.
These are five of the best apps that pay you to exercise:
Among coin-chasing exercisers, HealthyWage is a huge fan favorite. It’s fun, easy to use, and encourages a bit of healthy competition. Once you register, you’ll set your goal(s) in the app, weigh yourself (verified by video), and start exercising – very simple! You’ll be given a certain timeframe to meet your goal in, and if you make it, you’ll win money. You do have to bet your own money in the beginning, but the journey is entirely in your hands, so there’s really no risk, and the prizes you can win are significantly more than what you’re putting in.
You can choose to bet on yourself or get a friend or two in on it with you. The team weight loss challenge gives you the opportunity to earn a bigger jackpot, so there’s an extra level of motivation added in when you bring your support system along for the ride. Currently, the team challenge grand prize is $10,000, but this changes regularly, so check back on the website or in the app before you get started for a more accurate answer.
You can also read success stories on their website, see before and after pictures, and calculate the prize you could win when entering as an individual. Their handy HealthyWage calculator lets you enter in your details to see your prize range in just a few minutes. The grand prize should be all the motivation you need to get started, and the stories and comradery will be enough to keep you going. This particular program is best for anyone who wants the results to rely entirely on their efforts and anyone who could benefit from a community of people trying to reach similar goals.
Achievement is another popular fitness app, but this one is more point-based than competitive. There are no bets to make or weigh-ins to record, so this one is a bit easier. But there is a trade-off: the points probably won’t accumulate as quickly as you’d like them to. In a perfect world, we’d walk down one flight of stairs to the car, check our phones, and find that we’ve earned enough points to cash out for a gift card. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality.
Points are given for activities like counted steps, tracked heart rate, and exercises that are registered by your phone or connected fitness device. It helps to sync a Fitbit or another device with it for extra points, but it’ll work with most built-in fitness apps on your phone like Samsung Health. The more activities it records, the more points you’ll earn. They may build up slowly, but you’ll still earn points (money!) for things you’re already doing, like getting the mail, walking the dog, and buying groceries. This app is great for passive point collecting or testing out the idea of exchanging sweat for cash.
To earn extra points, you can refer a friend, log meals, or answer short surveys that pop up in the app. The referral program currently boasts an impressive 100 bonus points, but this gets updated fairly regularly and may be more or less when you sign up. The more you walk, track, and participate, the more points you earn, and the faster you’ll get to your gift card. You can cash out once you reach 10,000 points ($10), and start earning points all over again.
This one is similar to HealthyWage in that you can earn money by placing bets on yourself, as the name suggests. Fitness challenges typically last about six weeks and the pay-in/bet is usually about $40. Where it differs from HealthyWage is that it requires you to meet weekly goals to stay in the contest. If you make it to the end, the pool is split between you and the other remaining players, and you’re given the option to move on to another challenge.
With the weekly goals and variety of targets, StepBet is great for people who are really serious about consistently exercising. The different tiers also make it more fun and exciting, so it’s one of the best available for people who have trouble staying motivated. While most individuals choose to participate in one challenge at a time, you can also purchase a membership for $50 annually and participate in two or three at a time.
Sweatcoin is one of the most unique apps on the list because it pays you in Bitcoin and relies completely on tracked steps. Unlike some of the other apps, there are no bets or challenges, surveys, or points for tracking other fitness-related activities. All you have to do is step. This app pairs up with most popular smart devices and fitness trackers, so it’s integrative and easy to use. This is an ideal choice for anyone trying to start out simple or for people who already walk a lot each day (nurses, people with small children, dog walkers, etc.)
But even if you don’t walk a lot already, the app will encourage you to pick up the pace. Each step you take earns you SweatCoins that can eventually be exchanged for gift cards, fitness classes, coupons, charity donations, and more. The only downside to this app is that they cap you at 20 Sweatcoins per day, so if you choose to approach this process alone, it may take a while to rack up enough points.
Luckily, you can sign up as a team instead and pool your coins with your significant other or a fellow fitness-seeking friend to get you there faster. Having someone else in on it with you might also help you stay accountable and motivated. There are also some helpful freebies and discounts available in the app, which makes the daily cap easier to swallow if you’re doing this alone.
Last but not least on the list is Charity Miles, a totally different kind of fitness app. As the name suggests, you earn money for exercising, but instead of collecting it for yourself, it gets donated to the charity of your choice. You can choose from dozens of different charities and feel good about both getting healthy and giving back, making this the perfect choice for anyone who wants to kill two birds with one stone.
When you walk or run, you can turn your miles into money that will go to people who really need it. You can choose to earn alone or gather a few friends or relatives to fundraise on the move and turn it into a fun game or competition. Although it doesn’t directly earn you money, it earns someone money, and it could also save you money if you use it to replace the charitable donations you’ve been struggling to set aside regularly. It can be used in conjunction with another app that earns you money for exercising, so there’s nothing to lose in trying it out.