May 17 is World Hypertension Day, but your blood pressure requires year-round maintenance. Exercise helps lower blood pressure; however, it can take up to three months for exercise to have an effect on your blood pressure, and that benefit only lasts for as long as you continue to exercise.
So: how can you stay committed to an exercise program—and healthy blood pressure—long term? Social media can help. It may come as a surprise that posting, tweeting and regramming can help you stick to your fitness goals. But there are several reasons why it may give you a boost.
Why get social?
There is perhaps no better way to hold ourselves accountable to a specific goal than by writing it down and announcing it to others. We can take this practice to a whole new level by announcing our goal to friends and family via Facebook or broadcasting it to the world via Twitter or Instagram.
A recent study found that stating a goal affects the likelihood of successfully meeting it. A whopping 70 percent of study participants who reported their progress to a friend each week were successful in reaching their goal, compared to 35 percent of study participants who did not share their goal.
Another study found that participants who posted weight-loss progress on Twitter lost more weight than those who didn’t post at all.
A broader support network
Joining online communities, becoming friends with members and/or following people who are on a similar journey to you can also help with both motivation and support. Conversely, the more followers you gain, the more people you have to help hold you accountable.
Access to information
Thousands of fitness and health professionals are also on social media, posting fitness and nutrition tips, healthy recipes and motivational support each day for free. Find people like this to follow who motivate you and provide helpful information each day.
Many people only post a photo on social media when they feel good about themselves. These pictures usually elicit positive comments and praise from one’s online community. A positive comment about your progress goes a long way and would motivate just about anyone to keep on truckin’ toward their goal.
A study out of Cornell University found that scrolling through our own Facebook profiles provides much more of a self-esteem boost compared to looking in a mirror at ourselves. This is probably also due to the fact that, unlike when you post a photo on Facebook, no one comments, “You look great!” when you are standing and looking in a mirror.
You don’t have to post every day, and you don’t have to devote hours to online fitness research. But by using social media as an inspiring tool, you may give yourself that little push to go for that extra workout—and get a whole lot of likes.