We all know that exercise is good for us. And we also know that taking the bike to work serves a bigger purpose than our bank account. However, in our hectic life we often experience problems to find the time to go for a jog or attend the costly Yogalates (the love baby of Mr. Yoga and Mrs. Pilates) class. Therefore, it is not surprising that one out of three people worldwide is not physically active enough (Hallal et al., 2012). The question is: How can we help these people to get more active?
One innovation that can make a difference is the introduction of the consumer lifestyle activity trackers. These little bracelets or clips measure your activity and intensity during the day. More sports related devices focus on measuring your speed, velocity or heart rate. We know that keeping track of your activities and performance will make you more aware of your fitness, and also is a motivation for people to be more active (Tudor-Locke, 2002).
However, measuring your activities is mainly an individual matter. Therefore, it serves mostly individual exercise, like running or cycling. Sure, you can have online competitions of who ran the most miles last month. But be honest, is beating a friend’s online post the most inspiring aspect of sports? I believe that it is more motivating to exercise with others - after all, we are social animals. And with the omnipresence of social media, there must be a number of social sports apps. Therefore, I am interested to see how online communication can make people more active.
Hence, I started to search for online platforms that bring people actually together. The first one I found is called “exercisefriends.com” [exercisefriends.com]. This is an online platform that searches for other people in your zip code (works only for America) who are interested in certain physical activities. The activities range from water polo to ballroom dancing and base jumping to marathon training. Even walking your dog is a suggested activity! Once you found new people in your neighborhood, you can start chatting and arrange a date to get active. Although I like the thought of a Facebook-for-sports page, I think that the planning of the activity is too much of a hassle.
The second platform I found is a smartphone app: “Sporty” [www.sportyapp.com]. With this app, users can host a sporting event (e.g., a soccer math or basketball tournament) and invite other users to join. You can also search for organized events in your region or people you may know. I think it is a really nice app that brings people closer to each other and engages them in physical activities.
Still, I think we should make social physical activities more accessible. Therefore, I would like to propose a “Tinder-for-exercise app.” You enter the timeslot and activity that you would like to do. The app will show matches with other people or suggestions for other activities in your neighborhood.
So, let the swiping begin!
What do you think about the “Tinder-for-exercise app”? Would this be something you might try or do you think that strangers will not come together and be active?
Give your answer in the "poll of the week" - on the right handside of this blog.