From a health perspective, social media is somewhat of a double edged sword, it has to be said. Undeniably, there are some fairly unfavourable consequences linked to both the screen time element, AND the potential for misinformation, to say the least. That said, however, social media has also made great strides in informing, supporting and motivating people towards healthier lifestyle decisions. As an awareness-raising tool, the reach potential of a social campaign can go above and beyond that of any pamphlet and poster-printing efforts of yesteryear. Take, for example, the recent social drive for cervical screening uptake, or the much-coveted Mental Health Awareness Day, both of which took extremely important health messages and amplified them to the masses. And the benefits don’t end there, since the pick’n’mix nature of social media has sparked a significant change in attitude towards fitness and nutrition. Gone is the lacklustre stereotype of gym membership and five-a-day as the key prerequisites for health. Now, thanks to the endless scores of how-tos on everything from ‘ten minute meals’ to ‘five minute fitness’, we can recognise the potential for variety, flexibility and fun when it comes to moving more and eating well. Partly to thank for this trend are leading influencers such as Kayla Itsines , who sheds light on the makeshift gym potential that exists in all of our front rooms! Meanwhile, the likes of Amy Cousins are busy helping shake the stereotype of ‘healthy eating’ one protein-choc-chip-cookie at a time. With everything from ‘easy recipes’ to ‘fitness motivation’ now just a hashtag away, at any given time or place, there is much to be said for the power of social media in narrowing the lead time to positive change. Not only this, it has removed the financial obstacles to personal training and nutritional guidence, making the benefits of expert knowledge accessible to anyone who needs it.
So on this final note, there may well be down sides to social media, this we acknowledge, but there is also much to be gained from the ability to cast a line - and then draw a line - in the vast insta knowledge pool whenever motivation and inspiration elude.