Wisdom.Applied Wednesday: Social Fitness motivation

Don’t “Just Do It”… Post it. Share it.

Everybody knows that exercising regularly is essential to staying healthy. According to Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), exercising regularly has multiple benefits, including improving chances of living longer and living healthier, decreasing risks of heart diseases and diabetes, prevents weight gain, relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood, it improves heart, lung and muscle fitness and helps people to get sleep better. But this Wisdom.Applied Wednesday, let’s explore why fitness has been trending lately.

Obviously exercising helps people, but in this day and age, people are spending more time in front of screens working, watching TV and social networking (all of which can cut into their work out time). However, the thing that has people sitting on the couch just might be the thing that motivates people to get off it: social media. Like it or not, social media has an influence on people; that’s a reality. Another reality is that running is trending. People are running a lot more than what they used to and social media is feeding this trend. An industry survey says that running participation in the U.S. has grown a 70% over past decade. Running is trending not only because social media motivates people but also because is cheap (aside from those hidden costs); because everybody can do it from first-time runners to marathon veterans and also because cities are becoming more running-friendly.

The proof is in the apps. More and more apps are created every day to help people track and share their workouts with others with check-ins, post workout summaries and workout pictures or videos; even the new iOS 8 update comes equipped with a health and fitness app. Popular apps like Nike+, Runnerkeeper, MapMyRun or Bupa help people train to reach goals, whether it’s a runner’s first race, or a veteran working on setting a new personal record. These apps cover all the basics: GPS tracking, measure distance, speed and calories burned, they also archived workouts. While these apps are specifically running and exercise focused, other apps like YouTube and Instagram allow people to record videos of their workouts and post them and share them on the web.

Apps arn’t the only bits of technology helping runners; there’s also devices. The Wrist bands (FuelBand and Fitbit) are becoming popular. These wrist bands offer similar services than the apps but they do it 24/7 unlike the apps you don’t have to start it and stop it. They are synchronize with your computer so you can keep track and share with others. The latest trends show companies encouraging their employees to exercise through wellness programs; there are Facebook-like platforms where employees can challenge co-workers to complete some physical challenge.

People are easy to influence, they don’t want to be the only one not doing it. On a small scale, if all your friends post pictures of them running, why wouldn’t you go for a run and post one as well? Brands, especially sports brands, are also making the push for social fitness. They almost provoke us with slogans like “Just Do IT” or “Make It Count.” Social media and technology can help people to find motivation to run. No matter how much pressure comes from social media or brands the final decision is on us. We decide to exercise daily, do it because we want to be healthier… and then some of us post it online or compare it to our friends.

Cover Photo Source: Maridav

Carlos is a Junior Executive at SJG. He earned a BS in Business and Management systems and a minor in Marketing from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He is originally from Madrid Spain; outside of the office he can be found running on Lake Shore Drive or exercising outside.