There has always been a divide when it comes to today’s society relationship with social media – some can only see the good while some focus on the bad, but a lot of us can see both sides. However, we can’t deny the fact that social media is now an integral part of our lives. From pop culture to news, it is all online, ready for us to consume. And fitness is no exception!

And like with most things when it comes to social media, there are pros and cons to tapping into the vast online world of health, fitness and wellness. So, let’s have a look!

The Good

Starting with the positive, it is important to note that online spaces have made it possible for everyone to take up an interest in health and fitness. If someone wants to make a change in their life, such as taking up a new exercise or becoming vegan, they don’t have to go too far. All the information is right there, either by reading up about it on various platforms or by connecting with others online.

Community

group of friends together at the gym

First off, social media is the easiest way to find like-minded people who will share in your interests, and who will inspire and uplift you. This is why social media is, to a lot of people, the first place they turn to when they look for a community. Support is essential when you embark on a fitness journey, especially if you are prone to losing motivation and confidence. But even if you are on your A-game, you will still seek out other individuals you can share your passions with.

This is particularly important if you lack that support system in your life; you can always know that you will find your tribe at the touch of a button!

Motivation

Still tied to the community aspect, seeing people reach their goals will undoubtedly inspire you to continue working towards yours. A lot of people won’t shy away from logging their struggles, too, which will help you realise that this is a process! It is only natural that you will lose motivation, or you will get disheartened if you don't meet your goals. However, it’s good to know that you can reach out and talk about these things.

Accessibility

Sometimes, leading a healthy lifestyle or improving your fitness can be a privilege. Not everyone has access to gym memberships and nutritionists. The reasons will vary, but we can’t ignore the fact that there is a vast world of resources online. Working out at home is becoming more popular, and there are hundreds and hundreds of workouts that you can find on social media, from yoga to weightlifting. You will also be able to find workout regimes, tips and tricks, advice and even amazing recipes – all free!

The Bad

Health and fitness can be quite serious topics, which means that it is crucial to understand the risks of social media concerning them. In a sea of information that can help you, you will also find incorrect advice and tips, diet fads and the advertising of harmful products. Not to mention the constant exposure to the pressure of looking a certain way, which will take a toll on your mental health!

Self-esteem

Body image is a topic that has become very popular in the past few years. Fortunately, there has been a shift in society where being happy and healthy is not dependent on size. Our team at Exercise values feeling happy in your body above all else – and your “healthy and fit” will look different from other people’s, but that’s OK!

However, there is still a strong presence on social media preaching unrealistic body standards and goals, and when you are exposed to that kind of speech every day, you might end up falling for it. There is still a great pressure in society to assume that being of a certain weight immediately means that you are healthy. However, that is just not true. So, it is essential to keep that in mind and choose who you follow on social media carefully. Don’t flood your timeline or feed with people who make you feel bad about yourself.

Dangerous endorsements

It seems that miracle products are popping up on social media every day. A miraculous tea, amazing protein shakes, various pills or herbs, smoothies and more. We have already explored the topic of weight loss in our article, The Fundamentals of Weight Loss, and the conclusion was that losing weight is a lengthy process that you should ensure you can sustain long-term. And above all else, it should be done safely and healthily.

It is important to steer clear of products that promise the impossible because most brands just want to grab your attention. And most importantly, always look critically at people who endorse them! Especially if it is a celebrity that will often have their own chefs and nutritionists, personal trainers and possibly a makeup team.

Dieting

cutlery and measuring tape

A lot of the time, fitness and dieting go together. However, if losing weight is your goal, we advocate for doing so long-term, in a healthy and controlled way that doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. It should be a lifestyle change that still makes you feel happy, healthy and energised.

But just like with miracle weight loss products, every few months or so a diet will go viral, and everyone on social media will swear by it. If these diets advertise losing a lot of weight in a short period and consuming dangerously low levels of food, or the same food every day, you’re better off avoiding them. It’s been proven time and time again that you are better off with a small calorie deficit to your recommended daily intake. Diversify your diet, try to get nutrients from the best sources as often as you can, and you will be gold! Yes, it will take longer to reach your goal, but you’ll be doing it in a way that doesn’t put your health in danger and is sustainable. And with no added mental stress!

The Conclusion

friends taking a selfie at the gym

In the end, social media can be an excellent resource for you if you are a fan of working out or you are just embarking on your journey. You can find great support and information if you can find it in such a vast sea of content. Make sure to ask questions, research what you find and, perhaps most importantly, look after your mental health!

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.