A recent study shows that the impact that social media has is dependent on which platform you are using. For those who are choosing to turn to social media for diet advice, Instagram could actually be the worst platform to use, regardless of how colourful and appetising influencers make their meals look.
Fitness expert Tim Squirrel has said that this is down to Instagram fitness content being posted mainly by high profile influencers who are paid to promote diets, products and businesses whilst also maintaining a certain image of themselves. Overall, Instagram can easily be misleading for those looking for advice.
Although, he went on to say to the BBC that platforms that focus on users engaging within communities, such as Reddit can have a massively positive effect on users looking for tips and advice. This is down to users posting their own content, stories, pictures and videos. He says that often users will; "Share their failures as well as their successes," which can give motivation and a reliable view of what training and dieting are like.
He also said that "People decide what content is most relevant to them, they upvote it, that appears to other people and they can comment on it", overall, this approach to content sharing gives the relevant and helpful content to become visible and easier to spot among unreliable content. This may also assist in tackling the problem of inactivity in the UK. This is because older people and other demographics that are less active can be pushed away from fitness down to it not being seen as inclusive.
The sense of community around these social media platforms is massively encouraging for people in all stages of their fitness journey, as they are able to speak with other people in the same situation to get advice and help themselves improve. This might seem a bit irrelevant considering most people train on their own, but it is one way that fitness is made inclusive and enjoyable for more people without having to attend group exercise classes.
Overall, researching fitness tips, diets and workouts on social media is the same as looking elsewhere on the internet; the key is to find sources that work for you. Although this research shows that the majority of people prefer platforms like Reddit, where users can engage in communities, this will not always be the case, as everyone is unique. This is why we urge anyone who is using social media to further their fitness to make sure the influencers, brands and fitness fanatics that they follow are reliable and motivated purely by their love for fitness, as this makes sure that the advice and content you're following will help you reach your goals.