Who hasn’t looked at fitness bloggers’ pictures on Instagram in order to be pumped up and work out? A recent Australian research has found that this practice, which seems rather beneficial, could have several drawbacks and turn out to be harmful for your health.
The University of Flinders gathered 130 women aged 17-30 and asked them about their Instagram habits, the ideas they had about their bodies and their mood. Then they were divided into two groups: scientists showed 16 photographs depicting women clad in sport clothes to the first group, then showed 18 other pictures in which 11 people appeared, enjoying some holiday. Finally, scientists asked the women what the pictures had made them feel like. Had they felt like working out? Like eating healthy? Like traveling?
Results were different for both groups: the women who had seen photographs tagged with #fitspiration (which gathers more than five million pictures on Instagram) experienced a heavier necessity to have a healthier lifestyle, yet felt worse about themselves than those who had seen the pictures of people enjoying some holiday.
What’s behind all these? We tend to compare ourselves to the people we see, whether it be in real life or in pictures. That’s why the women who saw the first group of pictures felt bad about themselves, because they compared themselves to the people depicted in the fitness-related photos. Scientists alerted: “This kind of regime, combined with seeing all those pictures of fit people, could lead some people to chaotic lifestyles and diets which could turn out to be very bad for them.”
The matter is knowing how to distinguish reality from posing. Knowing that we can achieve our fitness goals, but thinking about it, not following some chaotic advice from every Instagram account we see.