Like most, I am an avid user of social media. I scroll through Instagram for far to long at times. Tweet my blog posts over and over, whilst using Facebook as my personal newspaper. There’s no getting away from how big social media is. Facebook have recently tripled their quarterly profits which shows the growth isn’t slowing down anytime soon. However, I want to look at whether this is good for fitness. Is increasing social media use good for fitness and its followers?
Read time: 10 minutes
Arguably, there has never been a better way of promoting fitness than via social media. Whether that be products, training or healthy recipes, social media does a great job of promoting them all. Its reach is unparalleled. Provided you have some form of smart device – or connection to the internet – you can view content almost anywhere.
Social media is a way for those working in fitness to shout about the benefits it can bring. Not only this, but it allows the users to interact with each other. Connecting has never been easier and talking about fitness with other users, or simply following their journey, can be done at the press of a button.
There is a wealth of fitness related content out there that social media only recently made accessible. previously, you have to be invested within the fitness field or know exactly where to look to find it. However, social media has changed that. You can now click a link to find an article educating you on your topic of interest.
Likewise, you can watch an instructional video around how to perform an exercise, receive tuition, training plans and seminars through the medium of social media. The way in which social media has made educational information readily available is incredible. This type of content has never been more accessible for those willing to learn.
Sometimes we all need a bit of a boost to get out and work on our fitness. The advantage of social media is that you can do this anywhere. We can now watch a quick motivational video before starting our workouts, or, go to a page showing the journey of others which can remind us that result will be achieved with persistence.
For fitness, social media is essentially a giant library of motivational content. Certain individuals are big enough to inspire an entire generation, set examples and change behaviors. Whatever your area of fitness, you can guarantee there is a social media community out there for you to draw upon when needed.
It pushes ads
Whilst social media is a good tool for promotion, it is exactly that, a tool. That means it can be used correctly or incorrectly when promoting a product and/or service. Unfortunately, there is no real way of policing this which means that scams, junk product or fake services can be pushed out to users.
This gets even worse when a celebrity or influencer is associated with a product and. Unfortunately “#ad” does little to put unsuspecting customers off a useless product. The reality is many of these products will never have been used by the face promoting it. In addition, they are likely to have ill-founded claims which translate to no benefit or even harm for those who buy into them
Isn’t the wonderful world of social media full of colourful content, flying pigs, unicorns and pots of gold? Social media is a bit of a show reel for people’s “fitness best bits”. We constantly see amazing progress pictures, personal bests and incredible feats of athleticism. Unfortunately, all may not be as it seems.
In reality, life isn’t a continuous stream of positives and wins. We all have our down days, challenges and struggles, that’s just part of life and our fitness journey. Whilst some more conscious users throw a handful of these days into their content, the vast majority don’t. This leaves many thinking that their fitness, progress and goals are pitiful in comparison to other people’s seemingly endless posts of good fortune and achievements.
It damages self-image
Finally, social media can be quite damning where fitness is concerned. We all have our individual goals that are quite honestly only relevant to us. However, seeing reams of motivational ‘memes’ and others smashing fitness goals can have a negative impact on self-image – just look at this study.
Due to the constant nature of social media’s presence in our lives, this can become overwhelming. It’s possible for this exposure to create harmful and negative self relationships. All of a sudden social media has gone from fueling fitness to breaking down relationships with fitness. This has the potential to encourage the opposite behavior to what is intended – people avoiding or even giving up on fitness.
Overall, whether the growth of social media is a good thing for fitness is a difficult one. On the one hand, it would be stupid for fitness not to jump onto the ever-growing social media bandwagon. In a world where obesity is bordering becoming an epidemic, the more exposure fitness can get the better. It can promote healthy lifestyles, educate and inspire. However, social media can also have negative side effects. It is extremely potent and continually in our faces. This can seriously affect how people view their fitness, progress and demotivate rather than motivate. Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. This may never be truer where social media and fitness is concerned.
I feel the management of social media and the impacts it has on fitness is down to the user. If following an influencer or celebrity makes you feel bad about yourself then stop following them. Likewise, it’s up to you to filter out the crap content. No matter what the medium, there’s always going to be those who try to make a quick bit of cash or publish fake content.
Be smart, tuned into what you’re viewing and keep perspective. That way you can use social media to the advantage of your fitness.
What are your experiences of social media and your fitness? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below…