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Earn prizes for getting off the couch with Nexercise iPhone app

by Kathryn Swartz

If the benefits of exercise itself aren’t enticing to you, how does earning points, prizes or even cash for getting moving sound? Pretty good, if you ask me, and Nexercise, for iPhone and iPod touch, provides just that opportunity.

In Nexercise, users track their physical activity to earn points to win prizes. Users can play anonymously, but can’t be awarded prizes through this method, so the app recommends using Facebook Connect. I tried this method, and just set the app to not post anything to my wall automatically. By using FB, the app can also automatically populate your friends list with FB friends who are also using the service, and that’ll save you time.

Nexercise will run in the background, but you won’t get has many points using it this way. There’s no in-app support for iPod playback, so I recommend starting your music before entering the app. Nexercise relies on the movement of iPhone’s sensors, so users who leave the device on the treadmill won’t get as many points either. Although these restrictions are annoying for users, they are clearly in place to prevent abuse and keep people honest. All it takes to earn points in Nexercise is 15 minutes, but on my first tests I found the "Start" button unresponsive. Restarting the app fixed the issue and was able to track a 15-minute activity without problem.

Upon completion, I submitted my activity for scoring, and was awarded 250 Reward Zone points from Best Buy, courtesy of Nexercise partner Kiip.me. That prize is worth $5 to the electronics retailer — not bad for something I was going to do anyway. Users can earn bonus points, such as exercising with another Nexercise user, checking in at a location, inviting friends to the service, or reporting bugs. Since I’m the type of person who likes to know what I’ve got left to do, rather than knowing what I’ve done, I do wish Nexercise was clearer on how many points are needed to earn rewards, or if the process is random. It’d also be interesting to see what companies offer rewards through the service.

If you’re looking for extra motivation to get healthy, Nexercise could provide the incentive. It's worth a look.

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