Quarantine has presented students with the task of finding new ways to stay healthy without access to normal luxuries such as gyms and workout classes. Many teenagers and influencers across the country are sharing their methods for getting their “bikini bod” ready for summer on social media platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram. These videos have become a trend and often promote workout challenges and diet drinks and meals; and while these posts appear to encourage viewers to live a healthy lifestyle, some may inspire a darker reality.
“So many of the “fads” shown on social media are just that, a ‘fad.’ They may not have any scientific backing and may just be promoting unhealthy habits, instead of developing healthy nutrition,” Anna Davis, Langley’s psychologist, said. “Just make sure you are doing your research because everything posted on social media is not always what is the healthiest, realistic, or true.”
It should go without saying that it is important to prioritize mental and physical health during a pandemic; however, it is important to remember that everyone’s body is different. What routine works for one person might not work for another. Scrolling on social media and constantly seeing filtered videos of people showing the best parts of their day can be harmful to one’s mental health.
“The typical negative impacts of social media still exist even during quarantine,” Ms. Davis said. “It may cause some to compare themselves to others on the screen and create a feeling that we are not as good as other people, or even a feeling of jealousy or envy of what other people are posting about. This has been linked to increased feelings of anxiety and sadness.”
This does not mean that there is no such thing as a healthy way to go about social media or maintain a fitness routine during quarantine. There are many ways to interact with friends and people your age, while maintaining your health.
“Anything to keep us active and moving is so important to both our mental and physical health,” Langley’s Coach Shifflett said. “I love how so many of the fitness companies are offering free online fitness activities. People should take advantage of those!”
Students everywhere are facing similar challenges in terms of creating a new normal when it comes to working out.
“I’ve had to adapt my routine a lot, because I used to workout at my gym where I had a membership,” junior Rebecca Damelin said. “It’s weird to not be able to use my favorite machines. Now I workout more often because I have so much time, but the workouts are not as strenuous.”
Overall, students should remember that what they see on social media is not always true and can be harmful if they fall into a cycle of comparison.
“It can be helpful to set some time limits of how long we are “consuming” and “scrolling” as well. It is important to find those boundaries and balance, especially now when our time is more flexible,” Ms. Davis said. “Most importantly, just be mindful of your feelings and if you are feeling like social media is starting to create more negative than positive emotions, take a break and reset. Maybe video chat with a friend to still feel connected. Connection and supporting one another are two excellent ways we can use social media platforms in a healthy way.”