October 4, 2012

Zombies, RUN!

In previous generations, I cannot imagine this phrase could feasibly be used as a motivator in a daily workout.

But welcome to 2012, where the average American spends approximately 3 hours a day playing video games, is 20+ lbs overweight, and where zombie culture is prominent enough to expand from stuffed toys to literary works. When life hands you lemons… you create an interactive experience that makes those lemons a problem-solving tool.

That’s what the creators of the phone app “Zombies, Run!” have done this year. Using the popular post-apocalyptic ponderings of our culture, this fitness app gets butts off couches and out in the real world.

How it works:

  • Using story-telling and sound effects, the application has a plot line of increasingly difficult missions for the runner (or walker).
  • As a runner, you plug in and accept that day’s mission to gather supplies in your zombie-infested town. No one else will hear the growls growing closer on your heels as you dash down the road to a pre-made playlist, but the instructions keep coming “from headquarters” dictating direction, pace, and more.

  • Once the run is complete and you have escaped capture, you dictate how the supplies you “gathered” are to be distributed in your town. An online community benefits from inputs of multiple players.

Created with crowd-sourced funding via Kickstarter, Zombies, Run! has been turned into an $8 app available on both Droid and iPhone. The real question remains: Is it working?

According to its users, yes it is. Combining the adrenaline-heavy fun of evading zombies with the feeling of actual physical accomplishment creates a  motivation to run that is “besting even the mammoth Nike Fuse” (GameSpot). Adding in an element from online fitness sites such as Fitocracy, the social dynamic of distributing your gathered materials also gives the ability to brag about your workouts to a community that will truly appreciate them.

Have you tried outrunning zombies? Do you think this app has staying power? Let us know in the comments below.