At the start of a new year, many of us vow to work out more, lead healthier lives, and lose some weight. Unfortunately, studies show that most of us also abandon those goals only a few weeks later. But a new app called Sweatcoin has a unique way to keep users exercising by offering virtual currency that can be used to purchase real products and services.
Available for iOS and Android, Sweatcoin uses your smartphone’s GPS capabilities and onboard accelerometer to track your movement. For every 1,000 steps that it records, the user earns .95 “sweatcoins,” which can later be spent on a wide variety of things, including electronics, workout classes, fitness gear, gift cards, and so on.
Sweatcoin was created by of a London-based company called Sweatco and launched in the summer of 2017. The idea behind the app is to give smartphone users an incentive to actually exercise by offering tangible items as a potential reward. This approach seems to be working because, according to The New York Times, Sweatcoin was the most downloaded fitness app by September 2017 and has consistently stayed on the charts ever since.
Of course, there are a few caveats to using Sweatcoin that potential users should be aware of. For instance, in order to get credit for the steps you take, you have to run or walk outside and you have to have the app running in the background at all times. The outdoor stipulation means that those who run on treadmills or indoors at a gym won’t be able to accumulate sweatcoins for their efforts. Having the software running on your phone at all times also means that GPS services will put a serious hit on the battery as well.
The Sweatcoin app is free to use, but its lowest tier — dubbed a “Mover” account — limits users to accumulating just five sweatcoins per day. If you want to earn enough digital currency to buy a Fitbit or Apple Watch, it will take forever at that rate. The next level up is the Shaker account, which costs 4.75 sweatcoins a month, but allows earnings of up to 10 coins per day, while the Quaker and Breaker tiers cost 20 and 30 sweatcoins per month, respectively, but up the earning potential to as much as 15 and 25 coins each day.
For runners and walkers who are already working out on a daily basis, sweatcoin seems like a bit of a no-brainer, allowing them to earn virtual dollars that they can spend on all kinds of things. But for those looking for a little extra incentive, this app just might be the key to stay motivated and healthy throughout the year. Visit the Sweatcoin website to learn more.