Finding someone to go out with is easy these days: just pick a dating site and enter some lies -- er, information. But what about finding someone to go one-on-one with? Or someone to train for a marathon with? Now that's a challenge. It's not like you can hit up Match.com for a local runner with an eight-minute mile and a sweet jumper.
Fear not, though. A new batch of location-based social sports apps are a fun alternative to the lonely elliptical or stairclimber. They are also a great way to connect pent-up 9-5'ers who are looking for an after-work outlet (or healthy alternative to Happy Hour).
So with a hat-tip to trendcentral, here are the best ways to find a game or a training partner in the time it take to lace up your kicks:
NextGame: This mobile app truly is Foursquare's sportier cousin. You start the app. It finds your location. You choose the sport you're in the mood for. And NextGame automatically pulls up a list of the closest games. Easy. NextGame can also sync with Facebook and Twitter so that users can promote existing games, tap their social networks for new players, recruit newbies or simply brag about their physical prowess (or lack thereof).
Sportaneous: This website and free iPhone app solves a common after-work problem: How do you connect people with a few free hours on a Tuesday evening who have nothing in common but a desire to play? Sportaneous allows fitness-ready folks to find and recommend activities in their neighborhood. The app collects information about public recreation areas, and provides real-time information about what's happening nearby. Activities range from baseball and basketball to ultimate frisbee and yoga. Sportaneous has even been used to arrange a large-scale game of Quidditch, the sport played at Harry Potter's wizard school.
Move Your App!: Food Revolutions' Jamie Oliver's (better known -- at least to me -- as The Naked Chef) 2010 TED Prize wish was for people to get behind a movement to fight obesity. So the Move Your App! competition was launched, challenging developers to create an app that would "inspire and track physical movement." The grand prize-winner was Pickup Sports, an app which helps users find people in their area that they can meet up with and get active. Pickup Sports is currently being folded into Spotvite, a larger beta app that takes the whole idea of spontaneous events one step further by going beyond sports and into fun things in general.
So loneliness is no longer an excuse. Cool tech may not be able to motivate you, but it can find someone who will. And who knows? Maybe your new spotter has a single sister.
-- Want to see the next trends first? Follow Erica Orange on Twitter @ErOrange.
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