A former air ambulance pilot in Prince George, B.C., has developed an app that connects people with workout buddies, after seeing the consequences of not exercising.

"I saw a lot of people that were sick because of an unhealthy lifestyle," explained Ursin Camenisch, the creator of 5F, billed as an "app to find fit friends."

After creating a profile, users select the sports and activities they are interested in. They are then given a list of all the people in the area who are interested in the same things and the ability to make arrangements to meet them.

Camenisch says the basic idea is that it's easier to exercise when you're doing it with friends.

"If you have a buddy and you go running every week, you're more likely to do the run every week and not just skip it once in a while," he said.

Apps and friends helpful for motivation

Experts have long recommended both apps and friends as motivational tools for those wanting to get into shape. Olympian Adam Kreek put both items on his list of nine ways to commit to getting in shape.

Camenisch says what makes his app unique is its ability to connect people who are having trouble finding workout buddies in more traditional ways.

5F screenshot

Users of 5F create profiles outlining the sorts of exercise and activities they are interested in. (5F)

It's a situation he found himself in when he first moved to Canada from Switzerland eight years ago.

He had plans to join a sports team or a club, but his demanding work schedule got in the way.

"I worked six or seven days a week, so that never happened," he recalled. 

"I would have liked [this app] to have existed then."

Promising results

Since releasing 5F in August, Camenisch says he's had about 1,500 downloads with around 1,100 users.

Unfortunately, they are spread over the globe and so often aren't able to connect in real life.

"It really takes a dozen downloads in every city until the app really works," he said.

However, initial results are promising enough that he's decided to start promoting the app full-time in the hopes of making it a viable business as well as a way to improve people's health.

"When I got the first five star review, that was a good feeling," he said.

"Obviously there is a demand here."


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