Exercises, videos, pictures of healthy food, well-being, cheerfulness, and successful workouts. Social media is filled with images and videos related to well-being and exercise. Some people may find motivation, while others might find themselves wrapped in a blanket in the corner of the sofa after the deluge of images. Social media can have both positive and negative effects on training.
Motivation or terror
One study found that influencers perceived as trustworthy and attractive experts can increase others’ physical activity, but, at the same time, a negative body image can decrease the willingness to exercise. So, you can gain a lot of motivation and training tips from social media, which is a good thing. The problem lies in the abundant flood of information, from which it can be difficult to distinguish between disinformation and nonsense. Some content is filled with influencers who share “information” without any education. Just because something worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for others or that it was even healthy or safe.
Posts filled with perfection and successful exercises can also discourage some people. It’s easy to compare your own activities, training, body, and life to others. It’s easy to think, ‘It’s easier for X to train because they don’t have this and that as their burden, or because they have this and that’. It’s really hard to know anything about other people’s lives based solely on pictures and videos. Competitive settings and constant comparison can drain your energy and motivation.
Some people update all their training information, while others don’t update anything. Neither is wrong, and neither implies that one exercise or lives any healthier than the other. Social media presents half-truths; a healthy food picture does not reveal the pizza enjoyed behind the scenes. A running route may be designed to go through beautiful landscapes in the hope of capturing a good photo, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a more effective workout than a session done on a less idyllic route.
Other effects of social media
No one has 100% motivation day in and day out. If you can find motivation in what others are doing, that’s great. If you want to share your own training and perhaps use it to motivate others, that’s great too. If following others on social media makes you feel negative, consider unfollowing them and ask yourself why you feel this way. How can you develop yourself without being concerned about what others are doing?
Social media can also be addictive and create extra pressure. How easy is it to stay in bed at night browsing social media when you should be going to sleep? How easy is it to browse social media after work with bad posture? How easy is it to develop pressure to perform well in a running race because you’ve shared all your training on social media? How easy is it to compare your own training and eating to others? How easy is it to compare your own results and development with others?
Don’t let social media impact your daily life and activities. Be discerning about where you obtain information and tips and take pleasure in what you do. If social media begins to have too much of an influence on your exercise, lifestyle, and mindset, it may be wise to take a break. Health and exercise should always be pursued for your own well-being, not for the approval of others.
Source: PMID: 35615268