Humans are inherently social creatures. Most of us enjoy the company of others and spend much of our waking time engaging in social interactions with friends and family.
Interestingly, people who spend a lot of time together often adopt one another’s eating and exercise habits, sometimes for the better, but often for the worse. Remember the old saying ‘birds of a feather, flock together’?
But there’s a positive side to our desire to conform socially. Find the right circle of friends — your own personal support group — and sticking to an exercise schedule or diet becomes easier. Hence the popularity of organized weight-loss groups and exercise classes.
Furthermore, research demonstrates that just having a weight-loss or fitness support system in place results in better adherence to diet and exercise and more pounds shed and kept off over the long term.
Don’t have access to a local support group? Make your own via one of the following social media platforms:
1. Facebook: This popular social media platform isn’t just a place to connect with old friends and post pictures of your pets. There are literally thousands of community and group pages devoted to weight loss, exercise and healthy living. Use the search bar to find one that fits your needs. Introduce yourself and join the discussion. Participating in a challenge is a great way to stay motivated and help motivate others!
2. Twitter: This “micro-blogging” sits is informal and fast-paced, with nearly instantaneous feedback. Use Twitter to find friends with similar health and fitness goals. Follow links to motivational photos, low-calorie recipes and workouts you can do at home. Tweet when you feel the urge to eat and you’re guaranteed to get a helpful response in a minute or two. And Twitter chats are a fabulous way to connect with an already established healthy living tribe.
3. Pinterest: A visual smorgasbord of clean-eating recipes, at-home workouts and inspirational photos. Pinterest lets you grab photos from anywhere on the internet and ‘pin’ them to ‘boards’ of your own creation. I use Pinterest as a visual cookbook, pinning recipes to my ‘Clean eating,’ ‘Paleo,’ ‘Pumpkin’ and ‘Oatmeal’ boards regularly. Find your favorite healthy-living peeps and start following their boards for continuous injections of inspiration and motivation.
4. Instagram: Love to take photos from your smartphone? Instagram provides a platform for sharing snippets of your day via photographs. Fitness peeps regularly ‘Instagram’ their meals and workouts, in part to remain accountable to their followers, but also to help motivate themselves and others to make healthy choices on a daily basis.
5. YouTube: Not just a place to find music videos, YouTube is also the home of hundreds of healthy living ‘channels.’ Want to follow someone’s 100-pound weight loss journey? Learn how to cook quinoa? Find free, at-home workout videos? YouTube is where it’s at! Watch, share and comment on your favorite YouTuber’s videos and you’ll quickly become part of their online community.
The key to using social media to improve your health and fitness? It’s right there in the name: SOCIAL media! Interact, participate and engage your way to a healthier, fitter you!