Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Striiving to beat Sir Bacon

I've heard that walking is one of the best exercises you can do, and while I do walk around a lot at work, that's because I have to. The idea of walking as exercise or just for fun has never really appealed to me. Until now, of course.

Last September, I got Lily a Striiv for her birthday, and she's used it every day since. I've seen how much it has helped her, and I expressed interest in getting one, too. Lily graciously offered to let me use hers as a field test, and though it's only been two days, I love this little device already.

The Striv is at its core a pedometer, but it is the only one I know of that makes walking fun. Essentially, it adds the element of game-play to make users want to walk more. The back story is a little cheesy, but your goal is to build structures and grow plants/trees to beautify your private island, and attract more animals to live there. Each thing you create produces coins, which you can use to build more things. Each item will give a certain number of coins in a certain time frame, and most of the expensive items give big coins in half-day or longer installments. The basic items (which are what I can afford at the moment) give you more coins per capita, but you have to harvest them more frequently. Take the Zebra Fern, for example. It costs 1000 coins to build, and gives me 50 coins every 5 minutes. That's a lot more per day than the Tiger Mansion, which costs 3500 coins but doles out a mere 5000 coins every 18 hours. The advantage of the latter, however, is that I only need to harvest once a day, instead of checking my device every 5 minutes.

How does this make me want to walk, you ask? To build things, there is an initial monetary cost, as mentioned above, but you need to build 5 levels before an item is complete and starts giving back. The last 4 levels require energy to complete, and you gain energy from walking, and climbing stairs. The Striiv also has 9 daily challenges, 3 each of easy, medium, and hard, and each challenge offers bonus energy as a reward. An easy challenge might be climbing 25 stairs in 15 minutes, whereas a hard one could mean 1000 steps in 10 minutes, which is a pretty quick pace. The number of challenges increase as you progress through the game, making the Striiv enjoyable for beginners as well as hardcore walkers.

There are three computer challengers you can race against, Waddles, Sir Bacon, and Walkatron, and as their names suggest, they offer varying degrees of competition. If you know other people who have a Striiv, you can race against each other for big points.

Needless to say, I love this little device, and for the first time that I can recall, I find myself going out of my way to walk figure eights around my kitchen, or climb stairs repeatedly. It's a great workout, and by making it a part of a game, Striiv has made exercise fun.

The best part about the Striiv is the charitable component. They have teamed up with some corporate donors, such that by walking and earning energy, you can contribute to one of three goals. Reserving a parking lot-sized area of Tanzanian rainforest costs 18,000 steps; so does clean water for a child per day in Africa. The last option is to immunize a child against polio, and that requires 60,000 steps. So while you're walking around to get further along in the game, you're also helping those less fortunate than yourself, and that makes you feel better inside and out.

If you want to exercise more, but lack the motivation, the Striiv is the perfect way to get moving. The daily goal is 10,000 steps, and on most workdays, I'm averaging 6,000, which means I have some work when I get home. The Striiv just challenged me to a stair climbing exercise, and I need the energy to build two more fish ponds to complete my medium-difficulty quest, because my next goal is the Cyclop's Revenge tower. If that doesn't make sense, go get a Striiv - you'll see what I mean.



  1. I went to look at the website and there are 2 versions, which one are you using? or can both connect to the little game and allow you to play it?

  2. We have the original white striiv pedometer (not the striiv play). The one we have has the game right on it and you don't need to connect to anything other than your computer any time you want to upload your stats to the website.

    The new one, the striiv play, is more like a pedometer and works in conjunction with your smartphone where the app has the game.

    Hope that helps!