If there’s one thing I don’t do enough of it’s walking, so when this little app popped into my inbox earlier today with the subject “Turns Walking into a Game”, you can appreciate why it caught my attention.

Arookoo (itunes link) is a free app developed by Reader’s Digest Association and Vivity Labs. It encourages you to get walking by turning the normally rather monotonous action into a series of challenges.

The app aims to keep its users motivated and fit by sending them on challenges and exploration tours of their local city. Expectedly, in return, the user gains rewards for their activity.

To use the app, it does advise you to keep it running in the foreground and provides a neat little screenlock function to do so. What impact this will have on battery life remains to be seen.

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The app has a couple of online components. Firstly, at Aroookoo.com, there are a variety of fitness tracking tools plus an Arookoo Community for added motivation – note that you do need to sign up on the iPhone app itself. Additionally, for you Facebook addicts, The Arookoo Social Game on Facebook turns your friends into world explorers as players walking around a virtual world collecting stars and discovering tools and treasures hidden within the game – not particularly “healthy” but fun nevertheless.

The most exciting element of Arookoo, at least for myself, is the interaction via the iPhone app. The app has clearly been given some serious love and has more than enough features to keep you entertained: a scavenger hunt, challenges, levels to unlock, daily rewards, ability to compete with friends, team mode and more. The app also offers a built in health tracking tool that not only lets you track your calories burned but also makes it possible to insert details of food you’ve eaten to learn how long you need to walk for to burn the calories off! Unfortunately, the latter requires you to purchase an in-app upgrade for $2. Hey, it had to make money somehow right?

If this all sounds very cool, it’s because it is and I for one am planning on giving it the best part of a month to test out. Will it stick? Time will tell but if you spot me walking with intent, I advise you stay out of my way. :)

Oh and if you’ve read this far, you should also check out:
10 fantastic iPhone apps to keep you fit and healthy and How a Geek Lost 35lbs and Got Fit with the iPhone.

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