21 Smart Ways to Get Paid to Exercise

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Wanna get fit, but struggling to find the motivation?

Luckily, there are ways to incentivize yourself to get more active. We’ve gathered 21 ways to earn money while living a healthy lifestyle. Because what’s a better incentive than cold, hard cash?

6 Apps That Pay You to Exercise

If you’re going to set a goal to get more active, you might as well get paid for it! Here are six workout apps that will pay you to either lose weight or get active.

1. A Healthy Wage: Get Paid to Lose Weight

One of the most lucrative apps on the market is A Healthy Wage. This app allows you to bet on your own weight loss goal. How much you want to lose, how quickly you bet you can lose it, and how much you bet on yourself impact how much you can win

One of our writers at The Penny Hoarder found she could earn up to $529.41 for losing 15 pounds!

Plus, if you join the team challenge and your team is successful, the prizes are even higher – up to $10,000 for a three-month bet. However, in the team challenges you’re not just betting on yourself. Everyone on your team will have to do their part so you can all profit.

2. Evidation: Earn Points by Sweating

Originally this app was called Achievemint, then it was known as the Achievement app. Today, the free fitness app goes by the name Evidation, but functions in much the same way it always has.

Evidations allows you to earn points which you can exchange for real dollars in the form of Paypal payments, direct deposits or donations to charity. You can earn points for various variable activities as they’re offered, and extra points for taking surveys or participating in health studies. Plus, you can earn up to 100 points a day for actions tracked by health apps. Activities that earn points can include logging your sleep, food intake, time you spent meditating or logging the numbers on the scale.

10,000 points are worth $10, which means if you aren’t participating in surveys or health studies, it would take about 100 days to earn $10. You won’t get as rich as quickly as some of the other fitness apps, but you also won’t have to engage in betting.

3. Sweatcoin: A Fitness App Tied to a Hopeful Cryptocurrency

Sweatcoin is an app that encourages you to get your steps with its own, in-app “currency’” called sweatcoins. You can earn one sweatcoin for every 1,000 verified steps, but there’s a 5% commission fee. Plus, you can join a “race” by setting a step goal for an entire calendar month. If you meet your goal, you’ll get bonus sweatcoins. You can also watch up to three ads each day in the ‘Daily Bonus’ section for potential earnings of up to 1,000 Sweatcoins a day.

Sweatcoins are just a point system. But in 2022, the larger company launched a separate, official cryptocurrency called Sweat Tokens. All Sweatcoin users can exchange each of their existing Sweatcoins for SWEAT based on the current exchange rate in the app, without losing their Sweatcoin balance. The value of new cryptocurrency is hard to assess, but currently SWEAT is valued somewhere between $0.004-$0.09. The full plan for SWEAT can be found here.

You can redeem your Sweatcoins for PayPal Cash or Amazon credit, but there are also high-ticket prizes you can claim like vacations or personal gym equipment. But once you exchange Sweatcoins for SWEAT, you cannot use the currency in the Sweatcoin Marketplace.

Because Sweatcoins is building in the cryptocurrency space, you might encounter scammers who attempt to steal your Sweatcoins or SWEAT. This is common in the world of cryptocurrencies, and the best way to avoid it is to not send your Sweatcoins to other users.

4. StepBet: Turn Your Own Money into Extra Money

StepBet is another app that helps you get active by betting on yourself. When you first set up your profile, StepBet will gather data from your existing apps, like Fitbit or Apple Health. Then, it will set a personalized step goal for you. You can enter different betting pools, with the average bet being $40.

If you hit your goal, you split the pot with the other participants. Most bets are six weeks long, with the first, “warm-up” week not counting. StepBet takes 15% of the pot.

5. WayBetter: Get Paid to Get Better – Physically or Mentally

Created by the same people who brought you StepBet, WayBetter aims to help you get a handle on your physical or mental health. You bet on yourself for each “game,” and if you complete the game you get to split the pot. Examples of games include “Take a Run,” “Drink More Water,” “Gratitude Attitude” and “Grocery Glow Up.”

If you complete a game successfully, most will net you 1.5 – 2.0 times your original bet. But that all depends on how much it costs to join a game, how many people participate, and how many people actually ‘win,’ or complete the game successfully.

6. Fitforbucks: Small Prizes for Lots of Steps

Fitforbucks doesn’t pay cash, per se, but the amount of steps you need to take to earn prizes is very low compared to some of the other fitness apps out there.

For example, you can currently get a free coffee from Rainbow Acres for 20,000 steps, a half hour massage for 30,000 steps when you purchase a one-hour massage from Willow Spa, and a free introductory dance session from Arthur Murray for 50,000 steps.

A man leads a fitness bootcamp. They are jumping in the air.
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15 Side Gigs Good for Health and Wealth

If you’re looking for ways to earn money while staying active, these physical side hustles can compensate you for your efforts. Many of them can even be turned into full-time gigs if that’s what you’re looking for!

1. Lead Fitness Boot Camps

Believe it or not, some people pay good money to be screamed at before dawn. If you’re a fitness fanatic, consider going into business as a fitness boot camp instructor, and get paid to help people get in shape.

To make sure you break a sweat, do the workouts with your clients.

2. Babysitting the Kids

Running after toddlers all day, pushing kids on swings and playing pick-up soccer with all-star 9-year-olds is a great way to get a good workout while earning extra money. Plus, every parent needs a break, so you’ll be doing them a great service by offering your services as a babysitter.

3. Guide Walking Tours

Share your town with visitors, meet new people and get paid to exercise — what’s not to like? If that appeals to you, consider becoming a walking tour guide and sharing your town’s history, nature and heritage.

You can go into business yourself (after obtaining any necessary permits from your town, plus insurance), or sign up with one of several tour companies. In addition to the payments from your guests or tour company, you’ll likely also receive tips for your efforts.

4. Teach Yoga Classes

How’s your downward dog?

If you’re a yoga fanatic, consider becoming a yoga teacher.

Pros need to demonstrate every pose and offer guidance and variations to help students develop their practice. Many instructors can also attend other instructors’ classes for free, which is a great added bonus.

5. Fight Forest Fires

If you don’t mind long days, hard work and a bit of danger, consider going into the field of forest firefighting. These pros can make up to $40,000 during a six-month season while they’re busy keeping the rest of us safe.

Be prepared for hard, physical labor and very little sleep (usually just crashing on the forest floor for a few hours here and there) when you’re working.

6. Teach Ski Lessons

Do you dream of hitting the slopes full time, at least during the winter?

Becoming a ski instructor is a great way to save on skiing or snowboarding. You’ll spend your days on snow and snag a free pass to spend your free time on the slopes, as well — making this a great way to earn and save money.

7. Work as a Ranch Hand

Ever dreamed of working on a ranch? Becoming a ranch hand or wrangler is a summer job to remember.

This job comes with plenty of exercise. Whether mucking stalls, stringing fences or helping guests hop on and off their horses, working on a ranch involves plenty of good old-fashioned exercise.

8. Offer Outdoor Services Year-Round

Spend your springs and summers outside gardening, your autumns outdoors raking leaves and cleaning up, and your winters shoveling snow to get paid to exercise. The Shovler app can help connect anyone with a snow shovel with people who need their sidewalks or driveways shoveled.

From tossing mulch to planting trees, this job will keep you moving, twisting, bending and working out. Consider working for a company or branching out on your own (with proper permits and insurance.)

9. Become a Bike Messenger

Pedal your way to fitness and a paycheck by riding around delivering packages and important letters as a bike messenger. While some businesses prefer to use messengers in cars, many use bike messengers, especially in big cities where parking is a challenge.

A woman feeds hay to horses in a barn on a farm.
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10. Work as a Farm Hand

Whether you’re corralling livestock, plowing and seeding the fields or throwing hay, working on a farm is definitely a way to get a workout.

While many farming chores are now mechanized, every farm still needs lots of labor to keep it running. You could also volunteer a few hours a week in exchange for fresh produce, which will cut down on your grocery bills.

11. Coach or Referee Sports

Become a coach and spend your workday practicing layups with players, running warm ups, doing calisthenics and offering encouraging words. Coaches can work out right alongside their players, then jump into strategy mode and help the team craft the best path to success.

Or, if you’d prefer to officiate, grab your whistle and become a referee. Whether you choose soccer, baseball, basketball or another sport, there are plenty of youth and adult leagues looking for coaches and refs.

12. Become a Personal Trainer

Work one-on-one with clients to help them carve the chiseled physique they’re after. Working as a personal trainer involves being able to demonstrate exercises, and sometimes you can do them alongside your client.

Another perk of personal training is many of these gigs come with gym memberships, which helps you save money while you make money exercising. You’ll need some training to do this. Check out the requirements to get certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

13. Lead Hiking or Climbing Expectations

Climbing guides get even more exercise than their clients, sometimes covering extra ground by going ahead to set up camp or ropes, and often carrying extra gear.

If summiting peaks is your thing, consider becoming a certified guide and helping people accomplish their bucket-list mountain-climbing goals as you accomplish your fitness goals.

14. Guide Rafting Trips

Navigate rafts and keep your clients safe in raging whitewater as a rafting guide. This job is a great workout, as it takes some strength and finesse to navigate the wily ways of rivers and manage risks out on the water.

15. Make Food Deliveries

This one might not be as active as firefighting or raft guiding, but driving for a company like DoorDash or UberEats can definitely help you get your steps in! You can work toward your StepBet challenge while earning even more money through the delivery apps.

This side hustle is particularly active if you live in a hilly city where you’ll be climbing a bunch of steps to the front door. But even if you’re living on the plains, this side hustle will keep you way more active than sitting behind a keyboard.

Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Pittsburgh-based writer Brynne Conroy is the founder of the Femme Frugality blog and the author of “The Feminist Financial Handbook.” Contributed Taylor Millam-Samuel contributed to this post.