Adventurers, athletes ‘check into’ the wild with social networking

Gone are the days when all you needed to climb a mountain or run a marathon were some good shoes and ropes. These days sports enthusiasts and adventure travelers rely on apps and social networking to track their progress and share experiences with friends and the online community.

Parker Liautaud, now 17, became the first person to “check into” the North Pole via the location-based social networking site Foursquare in 2010. Since then he’s been tweeting and posting on Facebook about his travels. In April he will be broadcasting his next adventure to the North Pole using Ustream to beam his trip worldwide live on the web.

Former British Army captain turned adventurer and explorer who walked the length of the Amazon River, Ed Stafford, made a big name for himself when he started posting videos on his website tracking his journey. Last year his own TV series was broadcast and he was nominated as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the year 2010. In 2011 he was awarded the title of “European Adventurer of the Year.”

Apps and social media have increasingly become necessities for travelling thrill seekers who wish to record their fitness progress and broadcast what they endure. RunKeeper for example is an app that can track your physical activity by using GPS. The individuals who use the app can then share their results on popular social networks.

TravelTrac is one of the more comprehensive travel apps available. The app contains 3 travel sharing domains namely TrekTrac, Mototrac and SailTrac. All three can be described as trekking journals and travel sharing utilities that work through wireless remote technologies. On it you can create a public profile where you can share backpacking trips, camping, hiking, sailing and boating voyages, car, truck and RV trips through uploading pictures and inviting friends to view them. The app is also connectable to Facebook.

Harvard graduates recently came up with the ingenious that motivates people to go to the gym. Every time someone does not check-in on their iPhone (on which the website works), they get charged $5. Every time users successfully complete a gym session they receive a cut from the ones who have to pay for being lazy. A definite win if you are motivated to shed a few pounds.

WAYN (which stands for Where Are You Now?) is another social networking website that unites travelers around the globe. The site, that has about 13 million users to date, lets you upload photos, create profiles and search for other travelers.

Another popular mobile app that is used to track cyclists’ and runners’ progress is called Endomondo. Along with the app is a website where users can upload their progress and share it with others and create challenges.

2012 miles in 2012” a Facebook page motivated by the idea that followers cover 2012 miles by running, rowing, cycling, walking or swimming. On the group’s page it lays out the challenge in full detail: “503 miles per quarter, 167.6 miles per month, 38.7 miles per week, 5.5 miles per day — that’s the 2012in2012 challenge.”

These apps and websites are worth checking out whether you are an active adrenaline junkie that likes to suffer from tough physical challenges or a lazy couch potato that enjoys watching others suffer. Either way it could be a good incentive to get you out into the great outdoors or the safer surroundings of your local gym.



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