(Featured on www.healthyway.com)
Want to know how many calories are in a breadstick? There’s an app for that. Or how many steps you took walking to the Empire State Building? There’s an app for that too! Can’t get up to work out in the morning? Your cyber coach will send a blazing alarm to get your lazy butt out of bed. Feeling blah and without motivation? The plethora of beautifully fit bodies on Instagram will inspire you to race to your next workout.
Think you’re one of only a few people feeling the wellness love on your iPhone? Think again! Studies show that the health and fitness mobile app market is now worth about $4 billion and could increase to $26 billion by 2017. There are now more than 100,000 apps dedicated to mobile health, and those who use them are mostly looking for fitness content and motivation. Google says that Facebook is still the most downloaded social networking app for health and fitness, and individual brands like CrossFit, Equinox and SoulCycle are leading the way, with more than a million followers on combined platforms.
Seems as though we’ve all been looking for help and have found it in our pockets. But the truth is, fitness through social media and apps is both good and bad for you. If you’re looking to your phone to help you get your mojo on, here’s the lowdown on the good and the bad and how to make it work for you:
1. It can and will help you get motivated (GOOD)
Fitness requires consistency and constant attention. Social media and apps are an endless stream of information and motivation. You can connect with people who do similar workouts. You can also find out about races and events and how to train for them. And you can befriend gym buddies who will keep you accountable and get you moving.
2. It gives everyone a voice (BAD)
Personal trainers and experts give their opinions and advice based on education, knowledge, and experience. For the most part, these experts have been trained to give you accurate information. But not all “experts” on the web are true experts. Bloggers and writers can position themselves as experts, leading you to believe that what they write is true. Their info and advice are usually based on what they think and what they’ve read “somewhere.” Be sure to check the credentials of anyone you’re following.
3. It can give you a voice (GOOD)
Social platforms are awesome because you can ask questions and comment on posts. You can also chat with others and commiserate about your battle to get fit (because sometimes whining with others about your diet and workout helps you work out better).
4. It can de-motivate while motivating you (BAD)
Gorgeous hips…perky breasts…six-pack abs…all look beautiful on-screen, and even though they’re intended to inspire you, sometimes they can do just the opposite. It’s tough not to compare your body with those that have been perfectly sculpted (or perfectly photoshopped), but try to remember to use them as they were intended, as inspiration. Don’t become obsessed with comparing your every flaw to theirs. Everyone is unique and beautiful.
5. It can help you keep track (GOOD)
You can count your mileage and calories and monitor your sleep and blood sugar. And that’s just for starters. You can track practically everything! This is good news because studies show that the more aware you are of aspects of your health and wellness, the more apt you are to work to make things better.
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