Lately I have taken to gambling. No…it’s not craps or cards or slot machines or even lottery tickets (which I believe are a tax on people who are bad at math, but that’s a story for another time). I’ve been betting on myself. My latest favorite smart phone app is called “StepBet.” And I’ve been using it to bet on whether I can keep myself moving.
I sometimes have trouble keeping myself motivated to exercise (despite my desire to do a half-marathon in September). But money is a great motivator for me. And if I can get someone to pay me for doing something that is good for me, I’m all over that. So I signed up for my first StepBet last November. The app connects with my fitness tracker to make sure I’m taking all of the steps I need to. Based on my average performance, StepBet calculated that I needed to complete about 8,300 steps four days a week (my “active” goal) and 10,500 steps two days a week (my “stretch” goal). One day a week I get to slack off. And as long as I was able to keep it up for six weeks, I would win. I paid in $40 to participate in the bet. I was one of 125 participants. Only 87 of us succeeded in getting all of our required steps for the full six weeks. So after StepBet took their cut from the money of those who lost, I was paid out $50 for winning. Not a great hourly rate, but a 25% return for doing something I should be doing anyway is not a bad deal.
Now I’m in my second StepBet. It started on Christmas Day and I just finished week 4. My required number of steps are a little higher this time around because the first bet bumped up my averages. And I’m still going strong. So far 20 of the initial 159 players have been eliminated. And I know I can do this to get back my money plus some from those who fail. I won’t allow myself to fail because I don’t want to lose my $40. And it’s not always easy to pull off. There have been many days when I’ve found myself marching in place in my living room to get to my necessary step number (steps are steps, whether they are moving forward or moving in place or dancing to 80’s music, right?—it’s all exercise!).
So, I guess this isn’t really gambling, since it’s not a game of chance. It’s more a game of resolution. If you have a fitness tracker and are confident that you can move on a regular basis, it’s kind of a fun way to make a little extra money without a lot of effort. And if it helps to keep you healthy, you win twice!