Study examines how social media affects results in sports
Regular exercise is good for human health. Motivation is undoubtedly crucial for whether we do enough sport or not. Researchers have now found that the competitive nature of humans means that the exchange of workout results on so-called social media platforms creates an increased incentive for sporting activities.
Scientists from the internationally recognized Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found in an investigation that results of workouts published on social media platforms can lead to us being motivated to do more sports. The scientists published the results of their study in the journal "Nature Communications".
More sport through social media?
Nowadays, many people share their preferences and successes on social media platforms. No matter whether pictures of the meal or results achieved during the workout, everything is shared with friends. Can the exchange of workout results lead to us being better motivated and therefore also exercising more? Experts tried to answer precisely this question in their study.
Social media motivates people to do more sports
In their investigation, the scientists found that the shared physical activity on social media platforms is definitely motivating. These results are socially contagious, so to speak. Individuals are motivated by longer or harder sports, the doctors say.
Researchers study data from 1.1 million runners for their study
For the study, the scientists tracked the exercise patterns of 1.1 million runners over a period of five years. They paid particular attention to the geographical location, social network ties and the daily walking patterns of each participating person, the researchers explain. In addition, the daily distance, duration, pace and calories burned were also taken into account, the experts add.
Impact of sharing run results
The scientists concluded from the results found that the sharing of personal data on social media platforms can motivate people to do more sports. For example, an additional kilometer run by friends could cause people to continue walking themselves. For example, ten minutes more sport from friends means that friends on the whole run three minutes longer that day, the authors explain.
Men benefit particularly strongly
The data found concern men in particular because they are motivated by both sexes. In contrast, women are only influenced by the results of other women, experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explain.
Comparisons on social media lead to improved performance
The data also showed that runners tended to compare themselves to experienced people. This is how they promote personal improvement. However, established runners also gain a motivation advantage by comparing them with slower runners. This is due to the fact that the better runners want to maintain the superiority over the slower friends, the researchers say.
82 percent of runners use wearable technology or fitness apps
While these insights are interesting, they are limited by the fact that they only apply to runners with some form of wearable technology, or use some form of fitness tracking app. This affects about 82 percent of athletes, the authors add. (as)