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Using Foursquare for Exercising

Recently a good friend of mine decided to get healthy. Below is a little taste of a trick Alan Danzis is using to stay on track.  Thanks for contributing Alan!

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been on a health kick the last three to four months: lots of salads for lunch and dinner, going for walks after every meal (especially dinner) even going to the gym—for the first time since college!

It can be tough to keep a crazy routine like that up if you were so un-exercise-ey for so long as I have been. (Especially when you cut the caffeine out and your irritability probably climbs.) So where possible, I decided to make my new healthy routine into a bit of a game.

To keep myself on those walks after meals, I not only take my iPod Touch with me and listen to some nerdy podcast like the Joystiq Podcast, but I also tie my walks to badges I can earn for Foursquare.

If you’re unaware, Foursquare is a mobile application that allows you to virtually check-in to locations: parks, restaurants, office buildings, subway stations, etc. If you check in the most, you become the mayor. You can also earn certain virtual merit badges such as “Gym Rat” for checking into the gym 10 times in 30 days.

As I said, I recently started tying my walks to badges I could earn. I started by walking to the Apple store from work – about a twenty minute walk – three times to earn the “Jobs” badge.

Then, I started walking to the dog park in Hoboken (where I live) to earn the “Dog’s Best Friend” badge. You get that by checking into a dog park at least 10 times over thirty days.

Now, I’m after the “Pizzaiola” badge which is earned by checking into twenty different pizza places. That can be quite difficult. I’m not going to eat a slice in every one – that would be pretty unhealthy – instead I buy a bottle of water. I’ve knocked out four pizzerias in Hoboken in the last few days and believe I’m on track to earn the badge by the end of the month.

A little weird, yes, very nerdy, yes, but I’ve found my incorporation of Foursquare badge earning is yet another way to keep me on my goal of leading a healthier lifestyle.

Leave a comment below and tell us what crazy things you do to keep your exercise routine up. If you’re a Foursquare user and have a great idea for what badge for me to tackle after “pizzaiola.” Or, you can always hit me on Twitter at @adanzis.

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