By DEBORAH GRACE HADY.

“I don’t like running by myself…”

“I just moved, so I don’t know anyone to play sports with…”

Does this sound like you? While exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, we all know how hard it can be to do it all by yourself. If you’ve just moved into a new area and know no-one, playing sports can take a bit of a backseat as you try to settle down and integrate into your new home.

Jase Niles and Nick Haig, two NZ-representative hockey players, have come up with an innovative app to get more people into sports while meeting others and developing friendships.

The heyfit app is designed to connect people so that they can play sports, exercise, or join new fitness groups together. Playing on the ‘sports dating’ theme, heyfit aims to get as many people as active as possible, with the encouragement of others. With three core features –  heyconnect, heytrainer and heygroup – heyfit keeps people motivated to be active, allowing individuals to join up for fitness sessions in activities like cycling, running, dance, yoga and more.

I talked with one of the creators, Nick Haig, amidst all his busy preparations for the Rio Olympics.

Nick came from a sports-mad family. His love for being active, for competition, and improving his sports skills given him success at an international level. He has played hockey in the 2014 World Cup and the 2012 London Olympics.

He leads an admirably healthy lifestyle. Aside from playing hockey competitively for New Zealand, he bikes to work, plays tennis, golfs, surfs and loves hiking and exploring new parts of NZ. For him, “it’s a great way to be social, healthy and keep energised.”

While a healthy lifestyle is important to give you “energy to go about the rest of your life as best as you can,” Nick acknowledges that “the demands of today’s world have definitely made it harder to exercise than it was 15 years ago.” Yet, excuses are easy to make.

“We are seeing a shift in people wanting to exercise in less-structured ways. Fewer people want to go to the gym or join a sports club; they would rather join a pick-up game of basketball or join a yoga group. This is why we created the heyfit app. We wanted to give Kiwis a resource that they could use to meet like-minded people who want to be active and healthy with other people in a social sporting environment.”

Indeed, heyfit’s innovation lies in the fact that it kills two birds with one stone – allowing people to be active while being social. It is much harder to quit exercising when you have a whole village – or even just one committed, encouraging friend – to support you.

“heyfit is a great resource for people who want to be active and healthy to connect with like-minded people… in an informal and social environment. The great thing about the app is you can create a profile, select the sports you are interested in and your ability – and then the app will showcase people nearby with similar interests and abilities. The app allows you to meet with new people or friends and be active together when and how it suits you,” Nick explains.

Seeing the vision for the app come alive and make a difference in people’s lives has been worth it for the creators. They have tapped into technology to influence the way people exercise and lead healthy lifestyles, while still keeping it simple.

“There is a danger in being too caught up in performance and monitoring/tracking progress. There are apps and tools to set fitness goals, track performance, compete against others, learn new workouts, create a healthy living plan – and it is getting more and more complicated. We wanted to strip it back and create an app that allows people to connect and be healthy through exercise and sport in a social environment. It is important to us that we reach as many people as possible and help them to lead more social, physical, better lives.” said Nick.

If you have an iOS device, download heyfit for free from the app store and take the first steps to a healthier lifestyle, not just by yourself, but with hundreds of people around you too!

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