Is your health and fitness tracker obtaining a damaging outcome on your mental health and fitness?

Health trackers could help to evaluate your physical well being, but they can just take their toll on your mental wellbeing. That’s the finding of a new review into well being-tracking technologies (eg Fitbit, MyFitness Pal, Strava), published in the journal Social Media & Culture.

This is the to start with investigation of its kind to explore how self-tracking tech and self-representations of healthy id on social media, in certain Instagram, effect the well being of a person offline.

Direct study author Dr Rachael Kent reported: ‘Users turn out to be pressured to perform identities and be a healthier “role model” on Instagram and these traits turn out to be addictive, which, in transform, result in consumers to develop into extremely aggressive and comparative to other people they see on line.

‘In most instances, this strain to share and monitor their plan on social media and on the web can make [users] obsessive, compulsive and create addictive interactions with physical fitness trackers.’

Past studies, even so, have highlighted the prospective positives of putting up your managing stats on line. A survey of 2,50o runners identified 1,000 runners by no means, or not often, shared their runs on social media, whilst 1,500 stated they were being normal social media sharers.

The success uncovered that people runners who share their runs on social media were, on regular, working speedier than those people who do not. The normal 5K time for the sharers was 25 minutes, when compared with the non-sharers’ average of 27 minutes. Of study course, this could also be the final result of regular sharers conveniently ‘forgetting’ to article their slower runs…

Sports activities psychologist Josie Perry ( isles) believes social media can be positive in the feeling that it presents persons ‘vicarious confidence’.

‘We get vicarious confidence from viewing people who are fairly like us acquiring some thing, and wondering, “If they can do it, it’s possible I can way too,”’ she says.

It can also be significantly handy to runners in research of a group. ‘Runners who educate on their possess can get lonely, so they genuinely price getting social media as a place to interact with other runners,’ she suggests.

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However, Perry also highlights some of the negative potentials of health and fitness trackers and social media. One particular of these is extra stress. ‘If you are worried about what your operate is going to appear like when you upload it on line – in conditions of how considerably or how speedy you have absent – that provides force.’

The other is the danger of turning into side-tracked by modish on line troubles. ‘You can get distracted by worries, this kind of as pledging to run 100 miles a week, that can injure you or get in the way of your other managing goals.’

Time for a electronic detox?

A few signals your angle to your fitness tracker has become unhealthy – and what to do about it.

You really feel pressurised to run rapidly all the time

Stick to a suitable program – we have bought several on our web site – and recall that even the terrific Eliud Kipchoge does his restoration operates at 9:40min/mile.

You’re checking your on the net health and fitness stats at antisocial hours

Established social media minimize-off periods. For example, no examining of your machine ahead of 9am or just after 5pm.

You feel nervous if you go for a operate with no your exercise tracker

Commit to executing at minimum one run a week without having your observe. After you get out the door, you may possibly be stunned how liberating this feels.

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