Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Social Media and Fitness

Like most everything, social media has had an impact on the world of fitness. I would say for the most part it has been positive and enhanced the experience. There might be some who would disagree with it, but I think if you're involved in fitness, you appreciate social media because there is a feedback mechanism which makes working out something to be enjoyed.

Of course not everybody agrees, a few have posted comments, not on my stuff, but on others about the wasted space of always posting the times you've been to the gym, or what you did- the number of squats or burpees. By the way, for the record I had burpees. There I said it. However I think people who complain don't understand the reason for this. It is shared because others who are interested in the same fitness plans are interested in the work of others. Should a person be new, then it's opportunity for others to be cheerleaders or give words of encouragement. For some, it's a place to ask questions and seek advice. It's also a place to post medals and make the rest of us jealous that we can't run in such a cool race and get a medal like that.

Beyond Twitter and Facebook, there are all sorts of sites that incorporate fitness and social media in the same place. This is indeed good because it's where like are dealing with likes. In other words, you're on these sites because they deal with fitness and they are filled with people of the same or different levels of fitness, or different ways on the fitness path. It's where you can hang out and talk the language others will understand. There is usually no judgment, because we are either at the level, approaching it, or can remember when we were at that pace. So there is potential for a lot of camaraderie and sharing of experiences. Also the questions usually are of the nature of type of shoe, or training programs. Also announcing of up coming races and how they are feeling about it.

For all the positives and feels like a great cheering platform, what they all tend to do is have you make friends and then post your achievements and scores against your friends. Remember it's all friendly. Oh it is, and if you get ahead of me, then I will have to push myself a little harder over the next few days to ensure I catch up and pass you. I see you ran 12 km yesterday and got x number of points, well I think I have a 13 km'er scheduled and let's see how I do. Although most sites will mention about 'seeing how you compare with your friends', don't miss the unmistakable sign of competition. You did how many push-ups for how many points. Well, I'm going to have to better that the next time.

One of the better aspects is usually these sites have their own apps, so instead of bringing paper, pen or pencil to the gym to record the weight and number of reps, you can just as easily record through the app on your smartphone. I mean it's probably safe to say that most of us have a smartphone in our possession and so using them to record results should become a natural part of life. I don't write anything down, I simply find the exercise I'm doing and do the record right there. That way it's on the website and I will get some points. That's another fun thing, the points you get per exercise. Not only points, but it keeps record of the overall status, such as miles complete, weights lifted, and this can be fun at times. Have I really lifted all those pounds? Also there is usually a calculation of calories. This is important for obvious reasons, especially if weight loss is part of the overall plan of fitness. I personally find that it's far easier to carry my phone to the gym and do my recording that way, since it's size is small enough to fit into the pocket of my shorts. Plus I use the phone as my messenger and to listen to podcasts.

Workout programs are also part of the attraction, usually tailored to various parts of the body or goals; if you need a workout program, they are listed someplace. Not just the workout, but usually photos and videos to help with learning the program. So it's a good way to get educated and to gain ideas.

I'm going to review a few sites I hang out on and give you an idea how I use them, over the next few blogs.

Until then, keep fit.

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