How Social Media Has Affected Our Health

By Andrea Remmert

It is hard not to find anything online, as it serves as a sharing Mecca for active online users around the globe. It has changed a lot, but what has it done to our health? Social media and health, is it for better or worse?

Breaking news goes viral before any of us even open up the newspaper or check the TV for our news channels. When was the last time you read something on the front page before you heard about it online? These changes are affecting industries and for some like health and wellness, it could be for the better. Also serving as a great way to connect, social media sites are updated constantly; everything is in real time now. The benefits of this? The instant a spreading illness is identified, the world wide web knows about it first- well second, right behind the discoverer. The agility of a spreading alert via Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, incredible and the public is informed and breaking news becomes instant. Aside from how quickly important news can be networked, it is important because we can now begin to take preventative measures against, say, a vastly spreading virus. If one is informed of a flu outbreak they are going to act more cautiously and take action to make sure they do not become a vector. Imagine scrolling through your social media feeds right at the beginning of your lunch break when, what is this?! The news station just posted that there is something in the peanut butter! You’re going to want to toss that sandwich you were about to indulge in and save yourself from some serious issues.

Another way social media has helped our health is that it has created awareness and action in our wellness. Health companies, health nuts, fitness gurus or just the sharers out there, post tips, healthy recipes, workouts, inspiration, articles… informative messages through the social media world. All eyes are on these news feeds and reading some pretty helpful things, and many are taking action, too. We are all guilty of clicking through “Best Foods for Burning Fat” or “The Best Stretches Before Your Workout” when they flash on our accounts, and I can imagine many of you have bought one of those foods on your recent grocery store trip or tried those stretches out at the gym. That’s great! It is one thing to read about the best practices around being healthy and even better when each of us attempt them. The best way to utilize social media for your health benefit is to follow the right people. Some of our favorites? Shape magazine has great recipes and fitness tips we constantly check on Pinterest. FitSugar on Twitter gives us creative suggestions for improving our health. We can always count on Everyday Health for giving us the health reads we need. Other than just being constantly informed of health matters, social media provides a supportive network for web users. It provides the ability to connect to others pretty easily, giving you the opportunity to ask questions or get support on your journey to getting healthy! Online groups are a great way to find others in your position, have a conversation about getting motivated, learn better health tips or maybe you are the one supporting others in health forums! Social media has set the stage for connecting individuals interested in health and wellness, where otherwise it may be have been impossible.

Whether it is connecting communities, providing tips, articles, recipes, or spreading a breaking news health alert, social media has impacted the wellness industry. Luckily it has benefited from this social growth and helped improve the health of many online users. In a matter of minutes I can come up with an inspirational work out quote from Twitter, a healthy protein packed recipe on Pinterest, and a tip for a better lifestyle on Facebook- and I can turn around and share it all with each one of my friends. Quick and effective, social media has turned our lives around, utilize this tool to capitalize on your health!

Another way to improve your health with valuable online resources? LifeVest Health is paying you to get healthy and they have a great web community to help you get there! 
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