Remember the good old days when we could just head outside and join an impromptu stickball game with the neighbors down the street?
Yeah, we can’t either. But an app called Sportaneous is using technology to recreate the spontaneity of 1950s fitness. The app combines the power of a search engine and social networks to let users find local fitness classes based on their individual interests and what their friends are up to. It’s been available on iOS for a while now, but a new version, focused on finding local fitness activities instead of pick-up sports games, is downloadable (free!) starting today. Right now the app only shows activities in New York City, but should soon work in San Francisco and other U.S. locations as well.
How It Works
The project is actually take two for Sportaneous founders Omar Haroun and Reuben Doetsch. Originally, the app helped users find pick-up sports games happening in their area. The idea was somewhat successful, but they changed their focus about a year ago when they realized there were already so many fitness activities happening in New York City people were missing out on.
Now, the app serves the dual purpose of letting users find and book classes (some of them free) throughout New York City and helping fitness providers reach a wider audience. The app looks at users’ age, gender, geographic location, and Facebook friends to make customized recommendations.
For Haroun, New Years’ is a perfect time to launch. The app is designed to act as a “nudge,” he said, for people who want to get healthier but don’t necessarily have a specific fitness plan.
And while there are other services that let users find and book classes, such as Classtivity and GoRecess, Haroun says their app is different, offering more of a personalized experience. For one thing, while many websites offer a similar service that sometimes works on mobile devices, Sportaneous puts mobile capability first. The app provides (optional) push notifications to let users know when friends are doing something fitness-related nearby — anything from hitting up a yoga studio to breaking a sweat at a bootcamp.
The new Sportaneous app has been around for a few months, but the full database of classes became available today, so Greatist hasn’t had a chance to really test out the app’s reach. But even last week the app seemed to be an easy way to find a huge range of local activities. (The website was much more sparse.) When I first logged in through Facebook, the app showed me dozens of dance-based classes in the New York City area (tango, anyone?), though it’s easy to search for the types of classes you’re more interested in — just type “yoga” or “strength training” into the search box. The only problem was that most of these classes looked pretty pricey (upwards of $15 a session), though the new version will offer a bunch of free and cheaper classes.
There’s good reason to believe the new version of the app will be successful, since working out with others seems to be more effective than exercising alone. Sportaneous says the app will ultimately offer access to as many as 1,000 classes a week — in other words, 1,000 easy ways to keep those New Years’ resolutions.
Would you use an app like Sportaneous to help find fitness activities near you? Let us know in the comments below or tweet the author directly at @ShanaDLebowitz.