Motivating or Dangerous? This is How Instagram Affects Our Fitness

Instagram Affects Our Fitness 1

Influencers and social networks have long since no longer only influenced our leisure time and wardrobe, but also changed the way we do sports today.

It’s Tuesday, shortly after half past two, when I disappear into the editorial bathroom with my sports bag. Move quickly. Black, figure-hugging leggings, white sports bra with a fancy back – both from a hyped Canadian sports label.
Less than thirty minutes later, I’m on the treadmill at Urban Heroes , a Hamburg boutique studio specializing in HIIT training .

Before I give my all to loud bass in a nightclub atmosphere at the midday Xpress course for 35 minutes, I quickly take a few selfies and a boomerang in the mirror, while two treadmills warm up to my right, Insta star Caro Daur , and to the left of me with singer Jasmin Wagner aka Blümchen in the starting blocks.

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Instagram users are active in sports

Even if not everyone uses their lunch break for a workout, around twelve million people in Germany play sports several times a week. The number of Instagram users is even higher: almost 15 million.

Dr. proved, however, that these two overlaps are not mutually exclusive, at least in athletes – contrary to what has long been assumed. Birgit Braumüller from the Cologne Sport University in a study:

“On the contrary – a central function lies in the improved organization of sports activities: social networks facilitate access to new clubs, sports groups and training partners, promote networking within sports groups and enable social contact afterwards.”

The relevance of Instagram, apps and Co. is perceived differently by both genders. “While young men emphasize the importance of social networks in the organization of their sports activities, young women report more about improvements in athletic skills and increasing motivation,” said the scientist.

Satisfaction and recognition

Sweaty and comfortably exhausted I drive back to the editorial office. During the two stops in the subway, I share my little personal success and post the boomerang in my story on Instagram with the links #lunchbreak
The reactions are not long in coming – and even if I hate to admit it, additional satisfaction gives me the recognition of my friends and followers.

A few years ago I would never have thought that I would voluntarily spend my lunch break doing sports. In physical education at school, I was one of the last to be chosen, and even when I signed up for Instagram in 2014, I was the last one.

If I hadn’t been forced to download the app by my department manager at the time, the social media hype would probably have caught me even later.

Instagrammable studios

Even if I only follow a few influencers myself, I discover new gyms and trends today, especially via social networks. Instagrammable boutique studios like Urban Heroes have overtaken the purely functional studios.

It is no longer just about strengthening your back or becoming bikini-fit for your next vacation, the studio has to offer visual added value – and it is best to have a cool Insta community of which you want to be or become part. Instead of direct, glaring ceiling lighting, the light is dimmed – almost a built-in photo filter.

Although trends emerge just as suddenly in the digital age and disappear almost as quickly, boutique studios have real potential to stay. Sport becomes a cool lifestyle, increases the effect of workout, is more than just a necessary evil for physical exercise.

The perfect shot in the studio

This has taken BionicFit to a new level . A studio for women that relies 100 percent on the Instagram factor. From the walls to the tiles in the locker room to the kettlebells , everything shines in “pretty in pink” – every corner invites you to the perfect shot.

Likes en masse guaranteed. No wonder that the German A-League of influencers is at the start, such as Stefanie Giesinger or Anh Phoenix – and posts their workouts afterwards.

“Social networks are used by many people to share their sporting successes and to exchange ideas about them,” explains Linda van Rennings, social media expert at Bitkom, the association of the German information and telecommunications industry :

 If you post a photo on Instagram for #medalmonday or publish your run on apps like Runtastic , you often get approval in the form of likes, comments or awards. This can be motivating. But you should also keep in mind that not in social networks the whole sporting truth is always shown: successes are celebrated, defeats are swept under the carpet. “

Personal trainers become stars

But not only the studios have changed, fitness trainers have long been more than just gymnasts, most of whom you only know their first names.

In the United States, coaches such as David Kirsch , Gunnar Peterson or Tracy Anderson are revered as stars, have hundreds of thousands of followers, land lucrative advertising deals, market their body-forming programs in multimedia and even pose on the red carpet with their VIP customers.

When the New York trainer Ally Love gives her cycling class in the cool Peloton studio , the exhausted course participants stand in line for a selfie with their idol – in front of an extra-styled photo corner.

Instagram has a negative impact

According to a study by the British Royal Society for Public Health  , Instagram is the social network with the worst effects on the well-being and mental health of its users.

The photo platform is in the negative ranking ahead of Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Instagram in particular affects the psyche of young female users, negatively influencing their body image.

Young adults are very critical of the self-portrayal of fitness bloggers. “Above all, the quality of the information available is criticized, and the question is what expertise really lies behind the accounts”, Birgit Braumüller found out during her studies at the German Sport University Cologne.

“They perceive the social pressure to have a sporty, health-oriented lifestyle, but at least say that they can distance themselves from it.”

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