Social media isn’t just for couch potatoes. This post reveals how to make your time online a whole lot healthier.How many times have you skipped a spin class in favour of dining out with mates? Keeping fit can be a lonely endeavour, and plenty of research shows you’re more likely to stick to a training plan if you have some support. But instead of turning to friends and family for back-up, tech-savvy types are harnessing the power of Social media for real fitness gains. Here’s how it can help you.
Twitter: Celebrity access
The real benefit of tweeting? The accountability factor! Telling your mum about your workout aims won’t keep you as focused as tweeting it to hundreds of followers. Announce to fellow tweeters that you’re going for a five-mile run and you’ll have to follow through!
Twitter also provides unique access to high-profile celebs. Unlike many social sites, Twitter allows you to follow anyone with a public page, including celebrity trainers and their A-list clientele. Follow specialist magazines or international athletes and you’ll get the best advice free of charge.
Want to go one better? Embrace Twitter’s ‘hashtag’ technology. By using the # symbol, you can search for the latest fitness tips, news and discounts. Or you could start your own hashtag trend, such as #sixpacksoon or #mymarathontraining to recruit a group of tweeters who will help you work toward your goal.
Blogging: Personal support
Have you gained a few pounds? Blogging about the ups and downs of your fitness is a great way to analyse your progress and stay on track. And it’s easy-peasy to join the blogosphere thanks to free platforms such as Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr. Blogs are great for charting your progress and providing in-depth updates on how you’re moving towards your fitness targets.
Don’t fancy launching a blog of your own? Start commenting on your favourite blogs, ask if you can submit a guest post.
Blogs put honest opinions out into cyberspace and allow fitness experts to express their thoughts. Bloggers often specialise in certain areas of fitness, so use them to seek out specialist advice on topics like marathon running, training techniques or nutrition.
Facebook: Online community
In your quest to stay connected, you probably spend oodles of time on Facebook – so why not use the network to get fit? Facebook can be a waste of time, or it can be great, depending on how you use it. The key is to join a community of like-minded people. Hoards of exercisers have set up groups to motivate others, posting pictures, offering words of encouragement and exchanging top tips and information. Whether it’s the page for your Boxercise studio or a friend’s diet plan, a healthy online community will support you to keep up the good work.
And that’s not Facebook’s only fitness function – the network also links with popular exercise apps like Runkeeper and Sports Tracker, which help you monitor your progress. Whether posting a race time or looking for new routines, fitness applications are really useful tools. Tracking data is becoming increasingly popular – especially if there are rewards to collect that bring out your competitive side. To get involved, click on Facebook, search for your favourite app and start sharing your workout triumphs.
Pinterest: Virtual inspiration board
If you haven’t signed up to the online pinboard pinterest.com, it’s only a matter of time before you do. A whopping 12 million people flocked to the virtual scrapbook in January to display pictures of their favourite things. And whether you pin images of your new trainers or inspirational toned tummies, a healthy Pinterest board could be just the source of inspiration you need to keep fit. Pinterest is really easy to use. Once you’ve got an account, you browse through the web and use the “pin it” button to pin images to your boards.
The social network allows you to categorise your pins so you can create boards dedicated to everything from your favourite exercises to gym hairstyles. You can also browse the main hub to find existing pinned content. Follow fellow users, much like you would on Twitter, and re-pin images to your own boards.