The current age of technology has us embracing and using social media on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day. Our online activity centers around sharing our day-to-day routines, accomplishments, and occasional hurdles. Plus, many people have taken to social media posts for connecting and communicating their fitness journeys and goals.
According to a study by Simple Strat, there are more than “180 million uses of the #fitness hashtag on Instagram” alone. Plus, 82 percent of social media users prefer video over photography content when it comes to interactive fitness. Also, 62 percent of people want brands to engage with them on social media. So, a more collaborative form of fitness posting is present. Like many things, there are both good and bad aspects of social media fitness posts. Read on as we break down the positives and negatives with studies and talks with fitness influencers.
One of the most beneficial aspects of posting fitness- and wellness-related content on social media is the sense of community created in a large sphere of like-minded individuals. Prior to the social media bubble, community meant in-person friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. Now, a community can be connected by a hashtag. By asking questions or sharing your experiences, you’re developing trust and relatability with others. In a journal posted by Georgetown University, researchers compared the education levels of students to their access to online networks such as social media. The journal found that exposure to sharing information created empowerment in education for not only the students but the parents and educators too. This can translate well to fitness, as your trainers are following you and vice versa. The viewing access to fitness and wellness influencers or trainers can help inspire your next workout or recipe.
Our society has now become one of relative distance. We text instead of call and order food on a delivery app instead of driving to the store or picking it up. Modern technology has simplified life by making it possible to fit more in a day. While technology can prove beneficial in many ways, it can cause us to lose motivation and accountability. We’re not familiarizing ourselves with the same faces every day. Turn the negatives of technology into positives. You can do this with social media. In your fitness community, post your current status or the goals you would like to achieve. Create accountability for yourself by checking in. Another way to hold yourself accountable through social media is to connect in a group of two to five people all looking to fulfill similar goals. Be cheerleaders for each other.
Expanding Your Fitness Mindset
Instagram influencer and fitness coach Katelyn Coburn discovers fitness ideas through social media posts. “For me, social media posts are encouraging and an extremely helpful way to learn more about different ways/places to work out,” she says. She relies on social media to find new places in her area, especially studios, classes, and even formats. She’s encouraged to step outside her comfort zone. Just recently, Coburn started a page on social media called @eatplayliftOC to share her findings in her new home of Southern California. Social media was her go-to when searching for exercise spots. She also uses it to encourage people to try different fitness classes.
Losing Sense of Self
Rutgers University published a pictograph based upon a study it performed. It shows the implications social media can have on mental health (both positive and negative). The research found that “people spend a large amount of time and effort utilizing many self-presentation tactics to display their best selves for the purpose of getting as many positive comments and ‘likes’ as possible.” This can create a persona that frowns upon any honest or difficult occurrences that shape you into the person you’re meant to be. Instead, try posting authentically. Include the negatives and the positives of your fitness journey. Not only will you feel more in tune with your body and mind, but you will also create relatable content for those who follow you. (You’ll be amazed at the feedback of others who feel and experience the same things.)
As we scroll through social media posts in the realm of fitness and wellness, we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others. But Coburn says, “All of us need to constantly remind ourselves that social media is only one part of a person’s life.” In front of the camera, we can’t see that someone may have a completely different body type. Or, they may eat unhealthily to support a quick weight loss journey. There are many things going on behind closed doors that social media doesn’t expose. Coburn always wants to portray clear and relatable content. She finds it important to share her fitness journey authentically and show that she can also enjoy herself. “I am intentional with the people I choose to follow. And [I] try to limit my time on social media so I can spend my time living (eating, playing, and lifting in Orange County),” she says.
Social media has changed the fitness landscape in a major way. While there are many (probably more) positive benefits than negative effects, it’s important to stay open-minded as you like, comment, and share fitness content. Always feel free to unfollow or mute any accounts that don’t make you feel motivated or inspired to keep your feed full of messages and like-minded individuals that push you forward on your fitness journey.