Zombies: your new running partner (a QotM answer)

February’s Question of the Month is brought to you by Kevin from The Mental Attic: video game player, fiction writer and opinion sharer. To find out more about him and his site, as well as how you can get involved, take a look at this post.

If you were guilty of over-indulging during the festive season (I know I was), your New Year resolution may have been to get healthy or improve your fitness. Unfortunately though, research has shown that over half of us fail to keep them due to a lack of commitment or a loss of motivation so how do we give ourselves a fighting chance?

Kevin posed us the following challenge as his submittal for this month’s QotM: which video game character do you recruit as your personal trainer to get you back into shape? And I have the perfect answer: zombies.

For the past few years I’ve entered the British 10K for as part of the team for SpecialEffect, a charity which helps those with physical disabilities play video games to increase rehabilitation, confidence and inclusion. While I love feeling as though I’m doing my bit to support this amazing organisation, I absolutely hate training; I’m not a ‘natural’ runner and I find it difficult to drag myself outside when it’s cold and wet.

Raising awareness for SpecialEffect and burning a few calories while doing so is a worthy goal, but sometimes a little extra incentive is needed for an added push to get up off the sofa. What if that incentive was having hundreds of lives counting on you, knowing you need to rebuild your base and collect supplies to save shivering survivors and learn the truth about the zombie apocalypse?

That’s where Zombies, Run! comes in.

Co-created with award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman by Six to Start, this app is advertised as ‘an ultra-immersive running game and audio adventure’. After pulling on your trainers and sticking your headphones in, each run becomes a mission where you’re the hero at the centre of your very own zombie story as a series of dynamic radio messages and voice recordings play between your own music.

Every time you run, you’ll automatically collect supplies like medicine and food which you can then use to help your community and strengthen your defences against the zombies once you get back home. And if saving the world wasn’t enough, you can activate ‘chases’ to kick things up a notch; can you escape every mob or will you have to drop some of your hard-earned supplies to distract them?

I have to admit that I’ve never tried Zombies, Run! or any fitness app like it so I can’t say whether it works. But having a pack of growling zombies snapping at my heels along with the ability to turn a training session into a game would probably give me that extra motivation to get moving, even when it’s raining outside. I’ve not yet signed up for this year’s British 10K but if I do, this app will be the next thing on my purchase list.

If zombies aren’t your thing, Six to Start have a couple of other options which might appeal. The Walk is a techno-thriller which encourages people to walk 10,000 each day while they’re on the run from terrorists; and Superhero Workout is encourages users to complete high-intensity workouts at home while defending Earth from an alien attack. Both sound way more fun than Wii Fit ever was.

More information can be found on the developer’s website and Zombies, Run! can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who’s ever used this or other fitness apps: did they work for you?