It’s summer, which means you probably gave up on your New Year’s resolution of staying fit several months ago. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start up again. You just need the right motivation, and one app is trying to give it to you. Earthmiles is a British digital startup that’s helping people stay fit by offering them rewards for the miles they walk, run, or bike. Much like frequent flyer miles, the more you move, the more points you’ll have to redeem for discounts with retailers.
The target audience for this company is those who are looking to be more fit, but who aren’t quite professional-grade athletes. It preys on the reward center of the brain, which finds motivation when there’s a prize for effort. Earthmiles is made for those who can’t seem to find the drive anywhere else to become more active.
The app itself isn’t too much different than other fitness apps on the market. It can link to a variety of apps such as Map My Run, Strava, Apple Health, Fitbit, and S Health. If you don’t want to rely on any of these app plugins, the original Earthmiles app has its own tracking and monitoring abilities.
Using these tracking systems, users will rack up “earthmiles” according to the activity they engage in. According to the Earthmiles FAQ page on their website, this is how you can collect points:
- 1 km walking = 1 EM (earthmile)
- 1 km cycling = 3 EM
- 1km running = 5 EM
- 1 Yoga Session = 5 EM
And you can’t cheat by putting in exercise that you didn’t actually do. It will award you miles based on either the app’s own tracking system or one of your favorite tracking apps that’s connected to the Earthmile app. They also have special checks to ensure the integrity of your data, and if they spot any erratic data from your tracking app, they’ll discard it. This means you can’t manually enter miles run or attach your phone to your dog and let him run a 5k in your backyard in order to collect points.
After you’ve done your activity, you can earn and spend your earthmiles with the more than 300 retailers who have partnered with the system. Most of the companies are in the United Kingdom, but there are some in the United States, and the number of companies they’re using will continue to grow. They’re hoping for global-scale success with this program.
Currently, the app has about 50,000 users and the makers estimate that monthly retention is about 40 percent. As it expands globally, these numbers will improve exponentially to include citizens from all over the world.
There’s also a social aspect to the app. Users can connect with friends and see their fitness progress and rewards. Like the social benefits of communities on other apps like MyFitnessPal, the community builds a sense of competition that encourages people to maintain activity.
The best part? The app is entirely free. This means that users can essentially earn money simply by going on their daily workouts.
“We wanted to see if behavioural psychology could make healthy life-style choices rewarding off their own back,” Megha Prakash, Earthmiles co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) told Forbes. “In the same way that someone rewards themselves with a pizza after the gym, we wanted to expand and explore whether it can be healthy and exciting for people to make healthy lifestyle choices—beyond the reward that comes from being healthier and feeling good.”
Ultimately, Earthmiles is seeking to change the health of the world with a fitness app that provides real incentives for the activity you do.
This article was written by Anna Johansson from PSFK and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.