The Best Exercise Program for Women—Their Friends

By Dr. Manny

Nearly every woman has a little competitive spirit when dealing with her social status and appearance, often exercising to maintain a perfect image. As a positive influence, social pressure may have even more to do with exercise than previously thought. These women can use this pressure for their own good, pushing each other to exercise for the sake of their health while keeping a healthy perspective about their appearance.

The Influences of Social Media

These women may have an even greater influence on each other with the help of social media. Recently, one study explored the positive effects of social pressure on people’s exercise routine. Researchers analyzed data from a fitness tracker that posts runners’ progress to social media. The data covered the exercise routines of over 1 million runners.

To get an accurate reflection of this positive pressure, the researchers waited for good weather. They knew that people tend to work out more when the weather takes a fair turn. As expected, runners did lengthen their workouts based on good weather in their cities.

However, as these runners posted their workout progress, their friends in cities not affected by the weather would also lengthen their workouts. These results prove that positive pressure from social media does push others to exercise more.

Going even further with the study, researchers looked at the effects on men versus women. Men did show a greater propensity to increase exercise when their male friends did. On the other hand, women still influenced each other in the process as well. In this study, female runners would influence other women with their exercise progress, but they did not feel the same pull with male runners.

Group Motivation

Based on the above study, men are influenced by fitness friends on social media more often than women. At the same time, this finding does not erase the social motivation for exercise in women.

In fact, women seem to favor group exercise, such as gym classes, much more than men do. In one case study of several fitness clubs, women made up the majority of the clubs’ group classes. These clubs estimate that men comprise less than 30 percent of each class.

In addition, women love the encouragement they get from participating in and even coaching such workout programs as Team Beachbody. Beachbody estimates that over 75 percent of their consumer coaches are women. These women simply love the personal encouragement and pressure they get from this kind of support group.

Exercise Insecurity

Overall, women don’t exercise as often as men do. According to a study published in Preventive Medicine, men exercise twice as much as women. Unfortunately, the lack of exercise contributes to increased risk of certain diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Women can easily lower their risk by becoming more active on a regular basis.

Researchers in the United Kingdom recognized a similar problem and wanted to understand what was holding these women back. They found that over 75 percent of women want to exercise more often, but they have several concerns.

These women fear that they lack ability, worry over how they will look during exercise, and fear judgment over spending more time on themselves. Clearly, women are pressured by social influences, both positively and negatively.  

Women should still challenge themselves to exercise. To work social pressure in their favor, though, they can participate in group exercise or find a motivating fitness partner. They simply need to surround themselves with people that will encourage them to keep going. For lasting benefits, women should choose groups that focus primarily on their health, encouraging toned and healthy bodies instead of merely thin ones.

Social media and fitness groups provide great motivation for women to exercise. These women should use social pressures in their favor, finding people who will cheer them on in their fitness goals. In the end, women should care more about exercising for good health and should maintain an appropriate view of their appearance in the process.

 

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