Connect with us

Fitness

New Research Says Social Media Could Have a Positive Influence on Our Fitness

Published

on

New Research Says Social Media Could Have a Positive Influence on Our Fitness

Social media is often painted as the villain when it comes to our health. And with countless Reels filling up our feeds with dubious and unregulated health advice, it comes as no surprise. On the other hand, many in the fitness space find their social media feeds a source of inspiration and an opportunity to connect with other health-conscious individuals.

Whatever side of that debate you fall on, science has weighed in with new evidence showing that social media might not be as bad as we once thought, while shedding light on what really gets us moving, and why.

Turns out showing off six pack abs and perfectly curated content may not be the thing truly motivating us. Who knew?

The Study

The research, published in the International Journal of Information Management, aimed to provide insights into the effectiveness of various types of social media content for promoting physical activity. It examined factors such as how users use social media, how they perceive t fitness content, and their intentions regarding exercise after viewing the content.

The Methods

The research is composed of two parts that investigate the factors that influence social media engagement and its influence on participants engaging in movement in the UK. The first study, based on existing online content and the trust in information published on social media, analysed exercise participation as a result of fitness content on social media.

Advertisement

The second part, based on the findings of the first study, investigated what type of specific information published on social media can generate a greater impact on the promotion of physical activity and the motivate individuals to improve their current levels of fitness.

The study examined factors such as user engagement levels, perceptions of the content, and intentions regarding physical activity.

The Results

Mindful Media//Getty Images
  • The study revealed that social media users engaged more with fitness content when it featured individuals who deviated from conventional perceptions of thinness and muscularity.
  • Highlighting the intrinsic benefits (how training makes us feel) of sports and fitness practices resonated particularly positively with the participants.
  • Aligning individuals with the same gender as the user appeared vital for engagement.
  • Although nuanced, these insights provide valuable guidance for tailoring content to maximise its impact on users and enhance their motivation to get fitter. It can also give you an insight into what type of social media content is likely to give your motivation the biggest boost.

The Conclusion

The study concluded that users engaging with social media content focused on physical activity had the potential of increased intentions to improve their physical fitness. The study emphasised the importance of featuring individuals with varied and realistic body types, while highlighting the intrinsic benefits of physical activity related to personal wellbeing. It also showed that aligning individuals with content from those of the same gender was found to be essential for engagement.

What This Means for Us

The research found that more intrinsically focused content (e.g. how training feels rather than how it makes us look) is more likely to get us moving. This sentiment is echoed in numerous studies examining the value of intrinsic motivators vs extrinsic for exercise adherence.

The findings offer valuable insights for tailoring our content to maximise its impact on our engagement and also encourage the likelihood of us participating in exercise. We can do this by following:

Advertisement
  • Credible sources
  • Sources that have a focus on the health benefits of exercise rather than just the aesthetics
  • A diverse range of different body types from different demographics
Headshot of Kate Neudecker

Kate is a fitness writer for Men’s Health UK where she contributes regular workouts, training tips and nutrition guides. She has a post graduate diploma in Sports Performance Nutrition and before joining Men’s Health she was a nutritionist, fitness writer and personal trainer with over 5k hours coaching on the gym floor. Kate has a keen interest in volunteering for animal shelters and when she isn’t lifting weights in her garden, she can be found walking her rescue dog.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Fitness

How astronauts exercise to stay fit and healthy in space

Published

on

How astronauts exercise to stay fit and healthy in space

Space, the final frontier…for human exercise and fitness? That might not be the catchphrase you’re used to, but it’s increasingly relevant as astronauts set sights on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. 

A pressing question hangs in the air (or rather, the vacuum of space): How do we keep astronauts healthy and strong in the face of microgravity’s bone and muscle-weakening effects?

Thankfully, the International Space Station (ISS) has become a unique laboratory for research in this area. And what they’re learning isn’t just helping astronauts; it could revolutionize how we approach fitness right here on Earth.

Why astronauts need to exercise

Before we strap on our space boots and hit the cosmic gym, let’s understand the challenge. On Earth, gravity constantly provides resistance, keeping our bones and muscles strong. 

But in space, that resistance vanishes. The result? Bones become brittle, muscles atrophy, and astronauts risk returning to Earth weaker than when they left.

Advertisement

The solution is exercise, but not the usual jog around the block. In space, exercise equipment has advanced from simple elastic bands to sophisticated machines that simulate weightlifting and cardio in a weightless environment.

ARED: Space station’s weightlifting wonder

One such marvel is the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), the ISS’s very own weight room. Using a clever piston and flywheel system, ARED simulates the resistance of lifting weights on Earth.

And the benefits are clear. Research shows that preflight training with ARED improves astronauts’ performance in space, similar to how athletes train for competition. 

Results have shown that preflight exercise training improves an individual’s performance while on the space station just as pre-season training helps athletes in later competition.

CEVIS: Pedaling astronaut exercise

Next, we have CEVIS, the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System. This high-tech stationary bike uses friction and resistance to provide astronauts with a challenging cardio workout. It’s like a Peloton for the cosmos.

Advertisement

However, data from CEVIS has also raised several questions. It suggests that even with current exercise countermeasures, up to 17% of astronauts could still experience muscle, bone, and heart health issues on future missions. 

The researchers note that this highlights the need to further refine current regimens, add other interventions, or enhance conditioning preflight.

This revelation emphasizes the ongoing need for innovation and improvement in astronaut fitness regimes.

Sprint: High-intensity revolution

In the early days of space exploration, astronauts spent hours each week on low-intensity exercise, with disappointing results. 

Despite spending up to 10 hours per week exercising, astronauts continued to lose muscle mass and bone density.

Advertisement

Then came a game-changer: the Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study (Sprint). This study showed that short, high-intensity workouts were just as effective as longer, low-intensity ones. 

The bonus? Less wear and tear on the equipment and more time for astronauts to focus on their mission.

Measuring the microgravity impact

To understand the true impact of space on the body, scientists have delved into the molecular level. The VO2max investigation revealed that long-duration spaceflight significantly decreases astronauts’ aerobic capacity. 

These results have important implications for future long-duration space missions, adding to the evidence that current countermeasures may not be adequate.

Meanwhile, the Muscle Biopsy study identified a potential biomarker for muscle health. The findings suggest that current exercise protocols are effective in preventing muscle de-conditioning.

Advertisement

They also support improvements in countermeasures to protect crew health and performance on future deep space exploration missions.

Future of astronaut exercise

As we plan for longer missions to the Moon and Mars, astronaut fitness remains a top priority. Research continues to refine the ideal combination of diet, exercise, and medication to keep astronauts healthy in space and upon their return to Earth.

While current exercise programs appear to moderate changes in musculoskeletal systems, individual results vary. 

In addition, current regimens cannot directly transfer to longer exploration missions due to space constraints, environmental issues such as removal of heat and moisture, device maintenance and repair needs, and the challenges of finding time for exercise and avoiding interference with the work of other crew members.

But the benefits extend beyond the cosmos. The lessons learned from astronaut fitness research could help people on Earth who suffer from bone and muscle loss due to aging, illness, or sedentary lifestyles.

Advertisement

Space fitness is Earth fitness

So, while astronauts are pushing the boundaries of human fitness in the extreme environment of space, their efforts are benefiting us all. 

The next time you hit the gym, remember that the exercises you’re doing might have been inspired by research conducted hundreds of miles above your head.

Whether you’re an astronaut preparing for a mission to Mars or a couch potato looking to get in shape, the message is clear: Exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy body, no matter where you are in the universe.

—–

Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter for engaging articles, exclusive content, and the latest updates. 

Advertisement

Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and Earth.com.

—–

Continue Reading

Fitness

Best Rowing Machines of 2024 – CNET

Published

on

Best Rowing Machines of 2024 – CNET

When using a rowing machine, it’s key to practice good form if you want to get the most out of the workout. It’s helpful to have a rowing instructor or trainer familiar with the machine to teach you the correct way to row.

Catch, Drive, Recovery: It’s important to learn the four key steps to rowing. These are the catch, drive, finish and recovery. Peloton rowing instructor, Alex Karwoski says your starting position should look like this: “Starting from the fully compressed position — your arms should be outstretched, body pivoted forward at a slight angle, and knees close to your chest.” From here you want to push with the legs to drive the seat and handle away from the screen. Karwoski explains, “for the first third to half of the drive, our legs are doing the majority of the work while our arms and body are braced and holding the pressure.” Then, as the shins come to about 45 degrees to the floor, the body swing starts. He says the key to the body swing is to think about “adding momentum” to the handle. The legs started moving the internal flywheel, and this is where the legs and body can work in conjunction to further accelerate the flywheel. “Finally, our arms get involved right at the end of the stroke and we pull the handle all the way into the chest,” he says. Once all of that is completed, you start the recovery phase of the stroke, which is just the opposite and the arms move away from the body first, followed by the body pivoting forward, and the legs compress to return to the catch.

Don’t misuse the drag factor: The drag factor is usually featured as a dampener handle on a traditional rower. On more modern rowers, such as some of the ones mentioned on this list, it’s included within the software. “Most people assume that moving this from, for example, the three to the 10 makes the machine harder, but what is really does is simply increase the rate at which the flywheel slows down and thereby causes the stroke to feel heavier because now it is as if you are rowing through molasses rather than water,” explains Karwoski. In other words, avoid mistaking the “drag factor” for “speed level” or “intensity.”

Know what the main measurement is: The main unit being measured when you row is output. Karwoski explains that when you row, each stroke takes a certain amount of time so the work being measured is the force applied to move the flywheel. He says, “from the output, we can derive the split, which is given in terms of time it would take to row 500 meters at your given output and distance.” Another metric to look at is the stroke rate, which is the number of strokes you will take, if you hold your current rhythm, in a minute. ”I encourage people to focus on output because that is the big number usually right in the middle of the screen,” Karwoski said. But keep in mind that different rowing machines have different metrics that are highlighted, but ultimately it’s about how much force you can apply through the drive to move the flywheel.

Rowing precautions: As with any form of exercise, it’s important to get clearance from your doctor if you have health concerns or are pregnant. “If you are returning from an injury — and that injury doesn’t prohibit you from sitting on a rowing machine — the rowing motion can be a gentler way to restart your cardiovascular fitness,” said Peloton rowing instructor Katie Wang. This is a good way to get the benefits of a cardio workout while caring for your joints and knees.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Fitness

Gut health: Exercise, fermented food, sleep are crucial steps to strengthen your microbiota

Published

on

Gut health: Exercise, fermented food, sleep are crucial steps to strengthen your microbiota
Gut health: There is an intricate relationship between gut health and overall health. Gut health may be involved in various mental health, gastrointestinal, and neurological disorders. Simple alterations in diet and lifestyle can strengthen your gut microbes, helping you live a healthy life and prevent many diseases.
Continue Reading

Trending