Superheroes get in on the action with Marvel fitness app

A fitness app will enable people to train alongside their favourite superheroes.

Marvel Moves won’t be released until later in 2023, but its five storylines have been revealed.

For example, with the help of Thor and Loki, users will be guided through 24 “expertly designed” workouts to take them from zero running experience to being able to run five kilometres.

The app was made in collaboration with Six to Start, the brains behind hugely successful fitness app Zombies, Run!

Six to Start’s CEO Adrian Hon said Zombies, Run! showed that having characters and adventures in an app can be effective in motivating people to go the extra mile.

Professor Corneel Vandelanotte, an exercise expert from the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences at the Central Queensland University, said Marvel Moves will most likely work for some people, but not all.

It appears the app will focus on, at least initially, high-intensity cardio, which some people just simply won’t enjoy, he said.

“I think there definitely is an audience for it and they’re probably going to make money on this, but it’s going to be [a] very specific audience so it’s not something that will work for everybody,” he said.

Do fitness apps work?

Beyond the appeal of training alongside Marvel characters and speaking more generally about fitness apps, Professor Vandelanotte said they can be very useful.

However, apps are not as effective as one-on-one, face-to-face coaching or training, he said.

The problem with apps is that people generally lose interest, or stop using them, Professor Vandelanotte said.

“We see people stop using them a lot more quickly than we would like them to, sort of before it becomes a habit and they don’t need the app anymore,” he said.

Pictured is a the Marvel fitness app

Marvel will release a fitness app later this year. Photo: Marvel

There are a few aspects of fitness apps that tend to be very successful. Usually they are components that support and help people become more active.

One of the most important components an app can offer is self-monitoring. This allows people to see a “baseline” they can build off to set more goals, Professor Vandelanotte said.

Another really important aspect is social support, a place within an app where people can communicate and get the support they need.

“Gamefication” can also be really helpful – whether that is awards, rewards, leaderboards or the ability for people to score points.

Marvel Moves will likely score really high in gameficiation, given it is creating a narrative, Professor Vandelanotte said.

“They’re making a game out of it and creating a narrative that’s hopefully engaging enough for people to sort of stick with the program,” he said.

Its likely Marvel will build on the storylines after it is released and as people progress through them.

While some might happily move with the superheroes through the fitness journey repeatedly, some will not want to do the same training over and over again, so more storylines would be needed to keep people engaged, Professor Vandelanotte said.

How to kickstart your fitness journey

Creating a sustainable workout routine is all about habits.

If an app, or the help of a personal trainer is going to help create habits, then do it.

The trick to building a sustainable fitness routine is finding something you enjoy doing – it could be running, swimming, dancing or a team sport.

“Find something you love, because to have some health benefit or any other benefit from being active, you sort of can never stop,” he said.

You don’t need to partake in a high-intensity activity to see the benefits – walking is completely fine, if running isn’t your thing, he said, and gradual, sustainable exercise is far more important in the long run.

“The biggest effect for health happens when you go from doing nothing to doing something,” Professor Vandelanotte said.

“That something doesn’t actually have to be a lot and so from there, you sort of gradually build.”

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