We know that incentive game programming appeals to the extrinsic side of motivation, but what is it exactly? Incentive game programming involves taking a popular game, sports event or other commonly known event and relating it to fitness — “Fitness Clue,” “Fitness Football,” or the ever popular “Travel Across America.” In these programs, members must work out on specified pieces of equipment, or for specified amounts of time or mileage during the length of the program.
Participants who meet the game’s objectives before the end of the program win, and receive some type of prize. Here is an example of an incentive game we at COMSAT Fitness Center in Bethesda, Md., hosted last year:
Fitness Clue can be copied or modified to best meet the interests of your members.
Objective: To discover who killed the aerobics instructor, with what object and in which room of the fitness center.
1) Each person chooses a game piece to move around the game board. You may only move vertically or horizontally.
2) Each square on the game board represents 10 minutes of a workout (cardiovascular or toning/stretching). The X in the corner rooms are secret passageways. You must work out 50 minutes to use the passageway to pass from one corner room to its diagonal partner.
3) The participant works out, records the number of minutes on his/her score sheet, then moves his/her game piece the correct number of spaces. For example, 40 minutes = four spaces (round up after five minutes so 35 minutes = 40 minutes). Extra minutes are forfeited once a participant reaches a room.
4) When a participant has reached a room, he/she may guess the identity of the murderer, and with which object the victim was killed (the room in which the player is in serves as his/her guess for the location). The participant tells one of the staff members his/her guess, and the staff will say how many of the three answers are right, but not which ones.
5) If you want to stay in the room, you must work out 50 minutes to make another guess. The minutes can be cumulative.
6) The program will last five weeks, or until someone guesses all three answers correctly with one guess. Other participants may win before the five weeks are up. The correct answers will be kept by the staff and not told to anyone except the winner(s). Winner(s) are not allowed to help others.
7) All winner(s) will receive a small prize. Other participants who work out four of the five weeks, but do not win, will receive a participation prize. Have a list of these near the game board, or on the score sheets, for easy reference!