Getting started couldn’t be easier — download the free app from the Android Market and press the big orange button labeled “Start New Workout.” The app is meant for outdoor activities more than gym workouts: You select a workout type from a drop-down list that includes items like running, cycling, rowing, walking, skiing, rollerblading and so on. From there, the app begins tracking your distance, speed, length of time, pace, laps and other measurements.

There are many add-ons. You can snap a photo or add a text comment at any point on your journey and it will be tagged with that location. You can listen to music from your own library while you work out. With the purchase of a Bluetooth-enabled heart-rate monitor, the app will also track your heartbeat as you work, and later show you the high, low and average of that, as well.

The social part comes when you save the workout, either creating a free account at or through Facebook. Making a workout public lets others see all your stats and your photos. You can see others’ workouts as well, just by touching the “Explore” icon, which brings up a map with pins for workouts that were recorded near your current location.

There’s a good chance that Sports Tracker will inspire some to get in better shape, using the support and perhaps peer pressure of friends and strangers as motivation. Others will use the service to record road trips or city explorations. Both uses seem worthy.

[appbox googleplay]