Gaming our way to healthier lifestyles
The festive season is upon us! And we get it. With temptations all around us, it can be hard to live healthy!
In recent years, more programmes that incorporate elements of gaming have been launched to keep us motivated to stay in shape. If you’re looking for some inspiration to work off the extra weight gain from festive feasting, read on!
Can you believe there have already been seven seasons of the National Steps Challenge? The world’s first population-level fitness tracker-based physical activity initiative started in 2015 as a way to get Singaporeans moving. The premise is simple: the more steps you take – which is where the fitness tracker comes in – the more rewards you earn.
Its popularity shouldn’t come as a surprise. Studies have shown that gamification can motivate people to start and continue actions that benefit their health and well-being.
Healthy 365 app
We would be remiss if we didn’t start by mentioning this app that powers the National Steps Challenge. It is where users log their steps, earn points, and exchange them for rewards such as grocery vouchers.
But did you know that Healthy 365 can also motivate you to adopt a healthier diet? The Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy Challenge rewards you for doing just that. When you make healthier choices at participating outlets – perhaps buying teh-O at the kopitiam or picking fresh milk instead of soda at the supermarket – you receive a special receipt with a QR code.
Scan that code with your Healthy 365 app, and you earn health points that can be exchanged for discounts. Accumulate enough healthier choice purchases to unlock sure-win rewards.
Plans are also afoot to increase the usefulness of the health points. In April 2022, GovTech and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) announced a partnership with DBS and NETs to work on making the Healthy 365 app a digital payment tool. Health points can be converted into health credits that can then be used directly to buy healthier items at participating outlets, much like how QR-based cashless payments are done now.
Over 2,500 food and beverages merchants are expected to join the programme and start accepting the credits by end-March 2023.
Lumi Health is a health programme developed by HPB together with Apple. Because it rides on many features of the Apple Watch, it is open to only users of that particular wearable device.
The overarching game within the app involves helping a cute animated figure by the name of Lu advance in its journey, much like a character in a video game. How does Lu move along? It’s powered by LumiPoints that you earn by completing activities ranging from walking to yoga and well-being challenges like meditation and diet goals.
Wearers of Apple Watches also log more data with the device, enabling it to push out customised challenges.
As Lu progresses across the digital landscape, it unlocks coins that can be exchanged for e-vouchers.
If you’ve always wanted to get in-depth insights into your health and lifestyle, then the Health Insights Singapore (hiSG) study may be just the thing for you.
The goal of the study is to collect lifestyle and behavioural data across various health topics such as physical activity, nutrition, and mental well-being. HPB is seeking participants who can commit to a minimum of two years, during which they should wear a fitness tracker – which will be issued to them – as much as possible, answer questionnaires, and log their meals in an app.
Usage of the device will also earn participants HPB health points, which as you know by now, can be used to redeem rewards.
At the end of the two years, participants will get free health insights and also get to keep the device, which is a Fitbit Versa 2 smartwatch.
You can register your interest at this link, and you’ll be informed by the end of 2022 if you’ve been selected to participate.
Do note that participants need to make a $50 deposit that will be refunded upon successfully participating in the study for two years. During the 24-month period, there are minimum requirements that participants need to hit (such as the number of days wearing the device per month). You’ll forfeit your $50 deposit should you fail to hit the target.
Being healthy is not just about physical well-being but mental fitness as well. The MindWorks app is designed to keep minds nimble through a set of memory-based games. Targeted at people above 50, the games test basic matching, counting, and sequencing skills, which the app calls brain training activities.
Developed by researchers from the Centre of Applied Gerontology and Temasek Polytechnic students, the app’s creators hope it will improve the cognitive ability of seniors, particularly as Singapore faces the issue of an aging population and therefore, an increase in the number of people living with dementia.
Gaming for good
Anyone who’s ever played a game of Candy Crush knows there’s a mental rush whenever a level is cleared, even if it really means nothing in real life. Gamification takes those positive emotions of accomplishments and channels them towards activities that will have an actual impact on your health.
So if you’ve ever found yourself wanting to exercise but giving in to the temptation of playing mobile games instead, why not do both by firing up one of the apps above? This is one of the few moments in life when you can have your cake and eat it!https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/technews/gaming-our-way-to-healthier-lifestyles