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Before the Run

How Social Media Affects Your Fitness Habits


Your phone alerts you that your friend just tagged you on Facebook. Five minutes later you get a SnapChat. Twenty minutes later you have news you're dying to tweet. You can't escape it, you're hooked on social media, just like the rest of society, but have you ever thought about how being social affects your fitness habits? The post-workout selfie, the #inspiring, #fitness, #gymgoals, just to name a few of the many hashtags you may add to a post. Your family and friends' awe inspiring hot physiques and sweaty faces that come to mind as you scroll through your feed. You might even be guilty of this yourself. So, we pose this question: does posting pictures to social media actually help motivate you to achieve your fitness goals? Or is it just an excuse to mindlessly connect to the rest of the world and hop on the

selfie bandwagon?

What We Found:

Turns out that yes, posting to social media regarding your fitness habits actually increases motivation. Humans are naturally inclined to positive feedback and when we post on social media and receive likes and views, we will repeat the behavior. Beyond this, people who post their workouts often find kindred spirits and will form groups that will support and encourage them to stick with a workout routine. Similar to how enlisting a friend will help you workout more often, posting on social media gives you a sense of accountability. Posting can also help create a digital log of your journey, showing how far you have come and where you can improve. Looking back on your posts can get you through periods of inactivity. Following other fitness social media accounts can serve as a source of motivation if you are plateauing in your results; looking through their feed can give you new ideas for recipes and workouts.

The Downside

On the darker side, sometimes posting can bring out the uglier side of society. If your account becomes popular, there might be a small group of unenthusiastic followers that'll comment negatively on your posts or send you discouraging messages. A simple solution is to block them or disable comments. Their reason for writing hateful things have nothing to do with you personally and there is no reason to engage with them. Another issue is when you start to compare yourself to other people's progress. Learn to recognize these toxic thoughts. Remind yourself there is no time limit on what you are doing and that life is not a race. What their body needs might be different from yours. Take your time, listen to your body and talk to your doctor about any concerns. 

In the end, there is no need to be ashamed of posting a post-workout selfie or taking photos of your artfully displayed breakfast. There is a whole community out there that is willing to support you on whatever fitness journey you want to embark on. Remember to lean on friends when you need them, listen to what your body is telling you, and never compare your selfies to someone else's photo.

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