Every so often, a new exercise fad develops — Jane Fonda workout videos, step aerobics, boot camps and kettle bell routines all have had their moment in the gym.
The latest fitness craze is the Fitbit, a wireless-enabled activity tracker that fits around your wrist like a watch and tracks the number of steps you walk and other fitness metrics.
The Fitbit promises to be more than a passing fancy. As of spring 2015, nearly 21 million Fitbits had been sold. The Internet is full of countless stories of believers who say the device helped them get in shape, lose weight and generally become more active.
But did you know that while your Fitbit is creating a ripped new you, it also can add a little muscle to your wallet?
Believe it or not, there are several ways you can use the Fitbit to make money, either in the form of gift points or cold, hard cash.
Following are eight ways you can make money with your Fitbit throughout 2016 — and beyond.
1. Earn Walgreens Balance Rewards points
Walgreens Balance Rewards is a free program that rewards customers for making healthy choices. You may already be aware that the program allows you to earn points for purchasing certain items — such as prescription medications — at the store.
But did you know that you can “get 20 points per mile when you walk, run or cycle” while using your activity tracker?
According to Walgreens, you can “turn points into dollars off future purchases. With as little as 5,000 points, you’ll earn your first $5 reward.” Sign up in the store or online, and strap on your Fitbit!
2. Make a Pact to exercise regularly
A recent study found that putting your pocketbook on the line is one of the most effective ways to motivate yourself to exercise.
The fitness-inspired app Pact [iOS, Android] taps into that wisdom: Every week you commit to an activity goal and pledge to pay a specific amount of money to other Pact members if you fail to reach your goal.
If instead you actually achieve your goal, you “earn real cash for living healthily, paid by the members who don’t,” according to the Pact website.
It’s time to sync your Fitbit to the app and put your money where your mouth is! If you place a winning bet on your well-being, your rewards will be deposited in your PayPal account.
3. Bet on your success with HealthyWage
HealthyWage is a site that awards cash prizes for weight loss. The site contends that research indicates you are more likely to lose weight with a financial incentive. According to HealthyWage:
One widely cited study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (“JAMA”) found those who have a financial incentive to lose weight were almost five times more likely to reach their target than dieters with no money at stake.
HealthyWage offers several options to its members. You can:
- Make a personal weight loss bet.
- Join with friends for a team weight loss challenge.
- Compete in a corporate wellness program.
Prize ranges vary, depending on how much you bet, how much weight you want to lose and the time frame in which you choose to accomplish your goal. This is another fun — and profitable — reason to sync your Fitbit.
4. Strive for athletic AchieveMint
AchieveMint gives you points for each healthy activity you undertake. Accrue 50,000 points and you’ll bank a fat $50 check for activity that you would have done anyway.
One small caveat: Because this app is so popular, there is currently a waiting list. Join it now and soon your patience will pay off — literally!
5. Hit the trail, gym … and Higi
You get bonus points for stopping at a Higi station and having your weight, BMI and blood pressure readings recorded. These stations are available at stores such as:
- Fred’s Pharmacy
- Rite Aid
- Stop and Shop
- Whole Foods
Higi also offers an alternate payout that appeals to many: Rewards can be donated to charity.
With Higi and your favorite pair of running shoes, you can do something good for yourself and those in need.
6. Rack up Charity Miles
Getting in shape feels good. So does giving back. Charity Miles [iOS, Android] allows you to do both simultaneously. Although you’re not earning cash to pad your own wallet, Charity Miles motivates you to “move with purpose” by exercising in support of world-class charities.
After launching the app, you select a charity and either walk, run or bike. The selected charity then earns money — up to 25 cents per mile when you walk or run, and up to 10 cents per mile when you bike.
According to the website:
Walk your dog, grab a coffee, go for a run, bike around the neighborhood, shovel some snow. You’ll help earn money for charity and feel great all day!
7. Keep track of EveryMove
EveryMove [iOS, Android] is a program that works with company health insurance plans to offer rewards such as gift cards or lower insurance premiums to employees who commit to a fitness activity such as walking, jogging or cycling.
The company says 500,000 individuals and hundreds of employers now participate — including more than 71,000 Fitbit users.
Do you know of other ways to make money with your Fitbit? Let us know in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.