Having a workout buddy can keep you motivated, even if he or she’s in cyber space. According to a recent study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the presence of a slightly more capable cyber cycling partner encouraged participants to stick to their exercise program.
I love any study that gives people another way to stay motivated about getting healthy! While the internet can sometimes be a distraction from getting your sweat on, having fitness buds online can keep you on track. Just ask the hundreds of people on Spark People. Or better yet, cruise this blog’s look book on Tumblr. Every day I log on to thousands (I’m not even kidding you) of fit blogging friends, all ready, able and willing to push me to run another mile or up my lifting weight. I love them. In fact, the fit blogging community is where I turn to when I frustrated about a plateau, need advice or just need to vent. Like when I went on vacation last year and found out the gym in the area was sort of…well, sucky. I was beyond upset. The gym is my Prozac. I didn’t want to be far away from home, in a place where I’d be walking around in a bikini, with a crappy gym as my only refuge.
I wrote, via my phone, a short and desperate post about feeling very anxious and uncomfortable. In only a few moments I received the sweetest message from one of my fav bloggers, letting me know that he understood and that I should try to breathe and just enjoy my time. It made me feel so much better, because sometimes only another runner or weight lifter, or somebody totally committed to their fitness can understand how much it fucking sucks when you don’t have the proper equipment at your disposal. Oh, and if you were wondering, I did enjoy my time. My boyfriend-not to be outdone by my cyber buds- was a total doll and bought me some additional workout tools for our room. We worked out hard every day, went swimming, and pretty much spent the rest of our time laying on the beach. I came back with a fierce tan.
Now, I find this study very interesting because it shows how positive it can be to have a support team, even if they are not there physically. Recently fitspiration boards, commonly found in fit blogs, have been getting a lot of heat. Check out this article in the Huffington Post to learn more.
I understand what the author of the article is saying. Some of the sayings and “inspiring” words found on fitspo pages do read a lot like the ones found in a pro-Ana or pro-Mia site. But the thing is this-anything, and I mean anything, can be taken to an unhealthy place. What worries me is that a whole healthy community is going to get a bad rap because some people poorly worded some caption on a photo.
Let’s be real, weight loss, getting skinny, or fitting into a certain size is a motivating factor for some people. But in my experience, a lot of people find solace in the fit blogging community. And while there are many bloggers who are initially attracted to the community because it gives them an alternative focus from unhealthy behaviors and addictions, the community has a funny way of changing the way people view themselves. Those who go their looking for “healthy” weight loss motivation find themselves suddenly caring about eating nutritious meals, becoming stronger and generally more positive. When I see before and after pics of my online amigos and amigas I feel encouraged to keep pushing towards my goals.
Do you have a cyber fitness buddy?