LISTEN UP, BYU. MORE LIKE Y B U. MORE LIKE CAN’T RELY ON U FOR ANYTHING. YOU COME INTO MY HOUSE. YOU INSULT MY RUNNING APP
It was a pain to run a single mile before Zombies, Run. I hated running. Even if it was part of another sport. On top of that, I am a working college student who had so much to do that it’s hard to feel any motivation for exercise.
Z,R changed it. Changed it ALL. I can happily run three miles. Normally I would do six. PER DAY. I JUST DID A RACE IN WHICH I RAN 15.5 MILES. I feel good now when I run. I didn’t feel that before starting Z,R. Do NOT tell me that this app alone hasn’t affected my long-term healthy behaviors. Do NOT. I now don’t feel any hesitation about running because I know that I can do it, and that I’ll feel good afterwards.
Yes, I read the study and am not just dissing it out of loyalty, lol. I don’t agree with a lot of their points and I thought it’d be interesting to hear any opinions contrasting to mine, considering we all own one of the major apps under discussion.
…I just realized that this is kind of long. I’ll put it under a cut.
I… take issue with how the study was done, personally. Essentially what happened is that they downloaded around 130 apps from the Apple Store (most of which were free but did include Zombies, Run.) They then analyzed those apps to find how many elements of “gamification” were within the apps. A lot of these included social interaction with peers, digital rewards for completing certain tasks, etc.
Their own points of actual user-itself input was the two researchers trying out all of these apps themselves, and the app’s online reviews. I’m not sure how you can draw any conclusions about long-term healthy behaviors from app reviews themselves. Most people leave reviews after a short time of play. They only do it once. And many users don’t review - often people who feel passionate about an issue, positively or negatively, are going to be the ones who talk about it. Am I making sense? I don’t think that you can use app reviews necessarily to judge long term behavior of the users.
The article essentially says that “well, there’s not a lot of studies done on it, so, you can’t say that it does help.” Well, I can’t find any studies that say that it doesn’t. The researchers are concerned that gamification is ignoring “key elements of behavior change” and could be demotivating in the long run. That the operant conditioning element of these apps aren’t sustainable. Uh… You can’t draw a conclusion just because you’re concerned about it. Yes, there isn’t much study on the subject. Including those that would back your point. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Also, lord. This paragraph:
“It’s like people assuming that you hate health and you hate taking care of your body so they offer to give you some stuff in order for you to do what they want you to do,” Lister said. “But really, you should intrinsically want to be healthy and be engaged in healthy activity.”
Cool. Cool for you. We can talk about how people “should” be all day. People “should” intrinsically want to learn while in school. People “should” have basic human respect for everyone. Fact of the matter is, it’s not how the world works. We’re not going to go anywhere if we don’t work from the actual world that we actually live in, instead of the one we should. Many people don’t intrinsically feel motivated to exercise. You feel that they “should”, but they don’t. These kinds of apps are for them.
Even if these apps didn’t end up working in the long run, I don’t understand what’s so super awful about that. Because even for a short while, you were exercising. For that time, your body was healthier. That wasn’t time lost. Something doesn’t have to last a long time in order to have any value. Every bit of exercise counts. No exercise is a waste. Sure, things didn’t go how you hoped they did, but it did improve your health.
Maybe it’s different for me, but I don’t do Zombies, Run for the “Mission Completed” at the end. I don’t do it because I get to “save the world”. I don’t do it for the “achievements”. I do it for the story. I do it just like you feel intrinsically motivated to keep reading a really good book. It’s my push to go out and run. It’s the push that I need in order to develop those long term habits.
And I think that counts, in and of itself.
Thoughts? Anyone have vastly different opinions than me? I’m curious to know what other people think.
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- tiresias66 said: I actually WANT to get off my couch and out the door, instead of grudging every moment not spent horizontal. ZR works for me.
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