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Dangerous “fitspiration”

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Working towards becoming a healthier person is always a good goal to have. Regular physical activity decreases the risk of disease, increases overall energy and reduces the effects of stress.

For many, a little inspiration is needed to get that final push out the door. On the downside, this sometimes leads to seeking inspiration from sometimes unsavoury sources such as ill-informed social media accounts.

In a 2016 study “Skinny is not enough” published in the journal Health Communication, over 1,000 different “fitspiration” posts on Pinterest were analyzed as being either health-related or appearance-related. The finding: these posts more often focused on appearance-related messaging with being attractive as the main motivator for becoming fit.

While exercise does increase your overall quality of life, these types of posts can be damaging to a person’s mental wellbeing, especially for those who suffer from body image issues.

Rather than turning to social media for inspiration before starting a new fitness routine or trying out a gym membership, ask yourself why you want to be fit. Appearance is one way to be motivated, but most long-term fitness buffs find they stick with it for the overall health benefits, including feeling good.

Self-confidence comes only with accepting yourself, not from adhering to social media’s standards.


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