Using Gamification to Increase Rec Center Engagement


What do students desire when they work out?

While the answer may vary greatly from person to person, some common themes emerge: they are looking to get a good sweat going, to challenge themselves to beat their previous workout’s progress, or to have a fun time with their friends while burning calories.

These themes generally tend to overlap with the notion of gamification. At a basic level, gamification is the process of applying gaming mechanics to non-game situations. Read on as we take a closer look into the benefits of gamification and how your rec center can incorporate it.

How does gamification benefit your rec center?

When gamification is present in a fitness experience, it creates a fun, challenging environment for participants where exercisers can sometimes feel “transported” from reality into an alternate world. Additionally, these experiences tend to be addicting, which can result in students heading back to the gym on a more regular basis to achieve their next goal. When applied to a group setting, gamification also creates a competitive but strong community feel that is very sought-after.

As adults, we often seek experiences that bring back that fun, competitive spirit we enjoyed when we were young. Luckily, advances in technology have allowed games to be integrated into many aspects of day-to-day life, with gamification being very prevalent in the fitness industry. Indoor cycling classes, networked cardio equipment, wearable fitness technology and fitness-based apps are just a few of the ways gamification is being incorporated today.

How can you incorporate gamification into your rec center?

Start with researching what you can realistically achieve in your facility. Contact fitness experts to see what they offer in terms of creating competitive training environments, and engage your staff to make sure they are fully on board with the gamifying approach. Finally, get creative! See what you and your staff can come up with in terms of holding contests or highlighting milestones. It’s not always necessary to have fancy technology behind your gamifying approach – just think of ways that will encourage high engagement and participation in your rec center, and ensure you can measure and track a person’s performance so they can beat their previous records. Most of all, you’ll want to make sure your gamification experiences are fun, reasonable and attainable, and include opportunities to reward or acknowledge a job well done.


Author: Katie Dobbs is the content marketing expert at Precor, a fitness equipment manufacturer whose mission is to develop personalized health and fitness experiences that help people live the lives they desire. For more information on the fitness industry, tips for facility operators, and workout ideas, visit the Precor Resource Center. Reach Katie at 425.482.5778 or via

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