Fitness Related Social Media Posts Could Impact Your Idea of Yourself

With the boom in social media, there is hardly anything that is not updated first thing on our respective social media profiles. According to the latest study, when people make social media posts about their fitness regimen, it may be influencing for better or worse, the health of their friends too

The researchers said, the more the number of fitness of exercise-related posts people find on their social media feed, the more conscious they feel about their own weight.

“Our results were mixed. Good can come out of this, in the sense that it can make some people more interested in exercising and feel better about exercising, but it might make other people feel worse about themselves if they are more concerned with their weight,” said co-author of the study Stephen Rains, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona, US.

For the study, researchers asked 232 participants to log into their favourite social media site and look at the past 30 days worth of posts from their friends.

For the study, the participants were made to count how many of the posts — photos or text — depicted their friends engaging in exercise.

In this particular study, no specific kind of exercise was taken into account. Exercise was broadly defined as any physical activity for the purpose of maintaining fitness and health, which could include anything from hiking to taking a walk to going to the gym.

Participants were made to choose three of their social media connections who made the most exercise-related posts.

They were then asked how they perceived themselves and their bodies after the activity. They completed questionnaires. In these questionnaires, they measured the level of concern about their weight, their general attitudes about exercise. Their upward or downward social comparison was also studied in detail.

These mixed feelings are an indication that social media does have an impact on how one perceived themselves and deserves additional research. The study, published in the journal Health Communication.

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