How Social Media Has Impacted Health and Fitness

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Social media has changed the way we communicate, express ourselves, and connect with others. Significantly more than half of all the people in the United States have at least one social media profile while 86% of young adults (ages 18-29) are on some form of social media. With such an easy way to keep in touch, check-in, or interact, more and more people are turning to social sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to meet their fitness goals and find information on health and wellness.

How many times have you been invited to join a fitness group on social media or saw a friend post weight loss results or a map of their morning bike ride? Rather than starting a running group or joining a gym, people are using social media to obtain their health and fitness goals.

Constant support

social media and weight lifting

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Having support enhances self-control and self-esteem while offering motivation. A recent study showed that Weight Watchers helped people lose twice as much weight as those following standard weight loss advice. Now, rather than driving across town to a meeting for support, you can write a post on social media about your workout or share a results selfie and watch as the comments, likes, and reshares flow in. These little bits of attention and love help keep you moving forward towards your goal as you look forward to the next workout or milestone that you can share.

Tracking your results

Health apps like Lose It! and Map My Run allow you to track calories, protein, heart rate, calories burned, and much more. FitBit tracks every step you take with options to log meals and weight loss goals. Gone are the days of meal tracking in a notebook or estimating the distance walked, ran, or biked. These apps and devices provide specific and measurable data so that you can reach your goals more effectively. Then, these apps and devices connect you with friends and family who have the same app or tracker so you can comment or support each other in your wellness journey. The connection to social media is seamless in their ability to share your workout or success to social media profiles so you can garner support from an even larger audience. The social feature on fitness apps and devices motivates, triggers action, and even increases ability and success through the accessibility of information and tips.

Accountability

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Just like a running buddy may get you out of bed on a particularly difficult morning, social media provides accountability for those on a health journey. Some create private Facebook groups where members can share their setbacks and successes allowing each member of the group to keep each other on track and accountable. Even a quick post on social media can garner all sorts of encouragement and support when you’re feeling unmotivated or uninspired.

Access of information

Social media provides a stream of constant information for those starting a fitness, weight loss, or health change. It doesn’t take long to find tips for a more effective push up or low-calorie dessert options when you’re craving something sweet. When someone wants health related information the Internet is the go-to source leading more hospitals and health care professionals to participate in social media. Through this informal way of communication health care organizations can share health information, advice, and tips to people looking for support.

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