I used to go to the gym seven days a week, but because of work and school I haven’t gone in the months. My job requires that I spend the majority of my “free” time sitting in front of my computer. If I spent as much time working out as I did on my Mac, I would be able to compete a body building competition. And I’m not the only one spending a lot of time online.
The British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology in Liverpool found that college kids who spent an hour on Facebook daily were less likely to play sports. The study also found a correlation between Facebook use and a lower level of physical activity in general.
As we age, we gain more responsibility and have less free time, so any amount of time that we spend on social networking sites is taking the time away from other activities, such as working out. Even if people only spend an hour a day on social networking sites that is an hour taken out of physical activity, and I don’t think typing is considered a work out. Most people know that a lack of exercise contributes to weight gain, but can social networking sites have a psychological effect making people eat more?
A study done by Keith Wilcox and Andrew T. Stephen, from Columbia Business School and the University of Pittsburg respectively, shows the relationship between social networking and over-indulgent eating habits. The study proved that Facebook decreased self-control by enhancing self-esteem. Because of this, people were more likely to make unhealthy food choices while they were on Facebook compared to other websites like CNN and TMZ.com.
Wilcox and Stephen found that lack of self-control didn’t just increase your waistline, but people would spend more — hurting their finances.
The correlation between Facebook giving people higher self-esteem and lower self control is unexpected. How can feeling better about yourself make you eat more?
Facebook is hurting your health and pocket book. But in such a connected world, it’s hard to imagine not being no social networking sites. And some jobs require you to spend time on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Staying connected with colleagues and clients doesn’t stop when you clock off.
How can we use Facebook but keep our self control? Increased time on social networking sites has drastically cut down on my work outs. Between school and work, I am on the computer at least 25 hours a week, which leaves little time for anything else. Also, because of my time constraints it is easier for me to get takeout than go to the store and cook. This is more expansive and unhealthy, and something I used to never do.
I have noticed a huge change in my activity level and food choices since I have become more connected online. It’s time for me to learn how to balance social networking with healthier choices.