Zombies: Bad for Brains, Good for Workouts

Gamers, this one’s for you. A new iPhone fitness app has users dodging zombies and saving the world.

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Hear those groans and blood-curdling gurgles? There’s a zombie horde at your heels and there’s only one thing to do — RUN. It’s a zombie apocalypse and only you can save the world from ruin.

Sounds like the plot of a hot new video game, right? It’s actually the premise of an iPhone app that’s designed to get gamers off the couch and onto the pavement.

Zombies, RUN!” takes all the fun of a zombie game and funnels it into a fitness app. Users take on the persona of “Runner 5,” whose task is to rebuild civilization by running around to collect supplies and avoid zombies. The app keeps you motivated as the story unfolds through 13 different audio missions — your goal is simple: keep running for your life.

As runners listen to clues, commands and stories through their headphones (no need to look at the app while you’re running; it’s all audio), the app records their distance, time, pace and calories burned during each mission. The app notifies users of their stats — as well as oncoming zombies — during each run. At the end of the mission, you get to distribute all the supplies you amassed.

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British writer and gamer Naomi Alderman came up with the idea for “Zombies, RUN!” while taking a class for amateur runners, NPR reports: when the instructor asked the class why they wanted to learn to run, one woman said, “I want to be able to outrun the zombie horde,” and Alderman thought, “This would be a good idea for a game.’”

In 2011, Alderman collaborated with the London games studio Six to Start on the project. In September, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for development. The team’s original fundraising goal was $12,500, but it easily surpassed that, raising $72,627 and making “Zombies, RUN!” the biggest video game project on Kickstarter in 2011, according to NPR.

“Zombies, RUN!” will be available for the iPhone and iPod touch on Feb. 27 and an Android version will be available in May. You can use the app outside or at the gym, so if the treadmill has become a bore, that zombie behind at your back might help get your pulse pumping again.

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