• We found a simple Garmin hack that will earn you 300 Vitality rewards points from Discovery without doing the exercise.
  • It’s so easy you can do it at your desk - although your co-workers might judge you for the noise it makes.
  • To get the same amount of points honestly, you'd need to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes and get to a maximum heart rate of at least 80%.
  • Remember: Cheaters never prosper.
  • Visit Business Insider South Africa for more stories.

Business Insider South Africa can confirm that a new Discovery Vitality hack – this time using Garmin watches – will earn you 300 Vitality rewards points without any real effort. 

The hack is so easy you can do it at your work desk – although your colleges might judge you harshly for the noise it creates.

It works by running any indoor activity profile like “Run Indoor” on the fitness tracker. By shaking the watch strap back and forth it will generate a supposed heart rate, and start tracking distance.

See also: This Fitbit hack can earn you all the Discovery Vitality points of a 30 minute workout – for just 1 minute of exercise

While enjoying our afternoon coffee, we simulated a maximum heart rate of 221 beats per minute (bpm), exceeding the maximum heart rate of most adult humans, who struggle to hit 180 bpm when pushed. Our "exercise" clocked in an average 182 bpm.

Vitality is South Africa's largest rewards-based health programme. It requires users to log workouts in order to receive rewards, using heart rate as a key measure.

For most users, the point system is capped at a weekly maximum of 900 points. Achieving your weekly goal gives you access to rewards like free smoothies, shopping vouchers, popcorn and charity donations. The points also contribute toward achieving tiered status, which opens the door to 35% discounts on flights and accommodation as well as money back on healthy food or sports gear – including Garmin watches.

According to their numbers, a Discovery Vitality Gold member costs the Discovery medical scheme 80% less than a non-rewards member.

But, using this hack means you can hit that achievement in three days, without having to step a foot in the gym.

The rewards are meant to encourage exercise, not finding ways of short-circuiting the system. Vitality have even gone as far as demanding members tag both into and out of the gym, to keep them honest.

Read more: Discovery Vitality is starting to demand that you tag out of gyms as well as into them – to stop fake, no-exercise visits

This is how to the Garmin hack works:

Using a Garmin Forerunner 35 we started the “Run Indoor” profile. 

Garmin Forerunner
Garmin Forerunner 35. Photo Jay Caboz


You then hold the watch by the wrist straps and then vigorously shake it back and forth. 

It’s so easy you can do it at your desk drinking your coffee, but know that your co-workers will hear what you are up to. 


You'd need to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes and get to a heart rate of at least 80% of your max age-related heart rate to qualify for the maximum rewards points.

Garmin
Discovery Vitality Garmin Hack. Photo Jay Caboz

You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.

Garmin
Discovery Vitality Garmin Hack. Photo Jay Caboz


After the time has elapsed, we ended the workout and waited to see if it would pop up in the Discovery Vitality App.

Garmin
Discovery Vitality Garmin Hack. Photo Jay Caboz

It did. 300 Vitality points earned.


The hack worked on two Garmin models we tested: a Forerunner 35 and a Vivoactive 3.

Since 2016, smartwatch technology has gotten much better at keeping members honest, but gaps still exist.

Garmin said the Business Insider finding had been escalated "for reviews and response". 

"We take protecting the integrity of the points-earning mechanisms very seriously, and continue to refine our fraud-detection and mitigation systems," Discovery Vitality CEO Dinesh Govender said in a statement. "Given the pattern that individual heart-rate workouts follow, we are able to detect legitimate versus fake heart-rate workouts which assists in guiding ethical behaviour amongst our members."

Discovery also said it would be deleting our fake workout. 

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