Sharing exercise goals on Facebook not the best motivator
You’re ready to get back into a workout regime to help hit weight-loss goals and you update your status on Facebook hoping for some extra motivation, but think again. A new study finds that people who share fitness updates on social media are less likely to meet their exercise goals.
Study leaders found that when people knew their goals were going to be shared on social media, they were less inclined to set weekly fitness targets.
“Public accountability is great, but not if it keeps you from making commitments in the first place,” said Paul Resnick, co-author of the study and professor at the University of Michigan, in a news release.
The randomized, controlled study chose 165 obese people and broke them up into three groups: a group whose goals and results were kept private, another in which goals and results were made public on Facebook, and the third group where only goals were made public. Participants were monitored for 12-week period and asked to wear a FitBit pedometer to help monitor their steps.
The results found that fewer commitments were set when the participants knew their goals were made public – only 88 percent committed in the private group, 78 percent in the shared group and 77 percent when both the commitment and outcome was made public.
Although the controlled study groups were not inclined to share their commitments on Facebook, they did find that participants were more likely to increase their step count by an average of 1,407 steps a day. This was a significant increase from the 957 average steps daily for the group who kept their results private.
While this might look like setting a commitment led to more exercise, the difference between groups was not statistically significant.
Adriana Guerrero, health navigator and exercise physiologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., shares some helpful tips to keep people committed to their workouts:
- Buddy System: Find someone who you can keep you accountable.
- Personal Training: Although it can be more costly, the benefits can be compelling. Clients are more likely to workout knowing they have a commitment to go to the gym for a training session.
- Variety: Spicing up your workouts with dancing, swimming and cycling can help to keep things fresh and avoid monotony.
- Focus on the positive: Celebrating small successes like being able to wear that old pair of jeans can help you stay committed.
- Make exercise a priority: If you mark time in your calendar to workout, like a doctor’s appointment, you’re less likely to skip your workout. Stick to a schedule by working out at the same time every day.
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