Friday, July 22, 2011

Facebook, Twitter, Other Social Media Might Help You Get Fitter

There is a massive body of research that has focused on the link between screen time and physical activity. For the most part, what researchers have found is that the more time we spend watching TV or at the computer each day, our risk for obesity, and subsequently chronic diseases, increases.

This isn't particularly surprising nor compelling since it implies that we perform these activities while seated, which means we aren't moving around or being active. But new evidence suggests that not all screen time is bad for our health; on the contrary, it is suggested that interacting online with others via social media may actually make us more likely to exercise and remain fit.

According to the 2011 Tracking Fitness Movement study from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and it's affiliates, remaining connected via social media is exposing gen Y-ers (born between 1980 and 1999) to new forms of exercise and encourages them to participate. According to the study, participation in several forms of aerobic or cardiovascular activities, including high-impact aerobics and cycling, has increased by 20% in the last 3 years alone.

In addition, most gen Y-ers are plugged into their iPods and smartphones, loaded with apps that act in concert to keep them on track with their health and fitness goals. However, this trend isn't limited to just gen Y-ers; it turns out that the most active age bracket by percentage is 40-54 years old! The difference is that people in that age bracket are more likely to work out at home, while their younger counterparts tend to be members of health clubs or more engaged in group exercises.

Just as nutrition, health and fitness messages keep evolving, so do the ways in which we access our information about them and become motivated to get involved! It's a beautiful thing.