Guest blogger: Al Painter, Integrate Fitness
What if you combined the best parts of Facebook, Evite, your favorite iPhone exercise tracking app and added in the ability to raise money every time you played outdoors or attended your favorite exercise class? You'd have the +3 Network, a charitable social networking site created by Sea Otter Classic co-founder Rick Sutton that allows you to raise money each time you exercise.
The biggest difference between +3 and other social networking sites is each step, pedal stroke, kick in the pool, walk or hike can be turned into a fundraising opportunity. Once you join the site, your favorite local recreational activities begin to make a difference on a global scale.
"Our site is a GPS-enabled free social online community that actively manages, motivates and rewards its members for participating in fitness activities," says Sutton.
To his point +3 features the ability for you to throw down the gauntlet to family and friends by creating fitness challenges to see who can lose the most weight after the holiday season, or punch out the most pushups.
Interested in how many miles you've done on your feet, on the bike or in the pool? You can keep tabs on that.
Want to create a calendar to enter your upcoming events or set up times to meet with your friends? Go ahead.
Want to know how much money you've raised for your designated charity? You can track that too.
"Our users can either hand input their workouts or upload them from a version 205 or newer Garmin Edge or Forerunner," says Sutton. Uploaded activities can be mapped and sent to your friends on the network.
If you're thinking to yourself, "This sounds great, a free Web site that contributes money to charity on my behalf, I don't have to raise any of it, and all I have to is exercise. What's the catch?" There isn't one. "Since the site is free to join and the charitable donations come from our corporate sponsors, our members don't have to actively solicit donations," said Sutton.
To join all you have to do is:
- Create your free account at (http://www.plus3network.com)
- Designate your charity
- Begin raising money through leading an active lifestyle.
Whether the activity is a mountain or road bike ride, a run, or a midday stroll to your favorite coffee shop, it all counts on +3.
"We want to encourage people to be as active as possible with the goal of getting sedentary people to start moving regardless of the activity," says Sutton. "We just want people to begin developing the habit of giving through active living."
An iPhone app is scheduled to be released in June and there are apps for Blackberry smart phones and the Palm Pre in the development pipeline as well. Additional features on the way include the ability to track elevation gains and keep tabs on heart data.
When asked what the best part about the +3Network, Sutton said it is the fact that it appeals to all levels of fitness and athletic ability. "We envision the site as an online hub where friends and family can connect over active healthy lifestyles while raising money for worthwhile causes."
For more information on how you can begin to make your exercise efforts count, log onto http://www.plus3network.com.