Facebook is detrimental to health. Is it really?

Earlier this week there was an official news story on the radio in which the headline was ‘Facebook is harmful to health.’  As the ads aired, I anxiously awaited the details of this study.  I was extremely disappointed when they revealed that the reason was: People spend time posting and scrolling instead of exercising.’  That’s it? I thought.  I’m pretty active on Facebook.  By active I mean, I visit it every day and I post on average twice/per week.  I also exercise more than the average person.  I teach five spin classes per week and I practice Bikram yoga 5-7 times per week.  So clearly I exercise because it’s a priority.  (I also work full-time and have a pretty long commute.)  It’s not difficult to use Facebook and find time to exercise.

Based on this study’s ‘findings’, any activity can be deemed harmful to health it someone does it instead of exercising on a regular basis.  The same could have been said about watching TV, working long hours, socializing, playing video games and the list goes on.   We need to take more responsibility for our lifestyles.   Blaming social media or any other activity that is a choice is a little nuts.  I decided I’d share some tips for how to make exercise a more regular part of your life even if you use Facebook.

  1. Early morning workouts.  This isn’t for everyone but if it works with your schedule it’s a great way to exercise before anything else has a chance to prevent you such as an after work event or traffic getting home from work.  I teach two 5:30am spin classes per week and they are well attended.  People love starting the day with an energizing ride and as they say “getting it out-of-the-way.” In the summer months you can go for an early morning run when the air is clean and there is minimal traffic on the roads.  If you are more of a gym-goer, most gyms aren’t as crowded in the early morning  as they are in the evenings.
  2. Exercise with a friend.  Workouts are so much more enjoyable with company.  Firstly, you get to exercise and socialize at the same time.  Secondly, you and your friend can motivate each other during your sessions and thirdly, you are way less likely to skip a workout if you know someone is depending on you to show up.  if this isn’t an option for you some other ways to achieve a similar effect are to join group exercise classes such as spinning, yoga, aerobics, kickboxing, Zumba etc. (and maybe make some friends there) or to seek out local running or cycling clubs.
  3. You have to do exercise you like.  There’s no point forcing yourself to do something you do not enjoy.  if you often have to talk yourself into exercising then you should probably switch it up.  I absolutely love spinning and Bikram yoga and I always look forward to going.   When I am unable to go I miss it and can’t wait to get back.  As beneficial as lifting weight is, I detest it!  I tried it for years before finally deciding to drop it and find others ways to build muscle.
  4. Create goals beyond the usual ones.  Of course looking and feeling good, gaining muscle and losing fat are universal benefits that people want to gain from exercising.  However, adding a goal such as completing a triathlon, marathon or other event are great ways to get yourself to commit to a particular routine.  Once you’ve signed up, told people you’re doing it and paid for it there’s an extra motivation to not miss your workout sessions.

Facebook can actually help users to be healthier.  Many users (myself included) post healthy recipes, workout accomplishments, routines etc.  These posts motivate other Facebook users.  Needless to say I think that report is nonsense.  Take ownership of your life and the choices you make.  You’ll find time for the things you want to find time for.


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