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Pinterest: Being Aware of the Unhealthful Aspects of Its’ Motivational Fitness Pins

August 14, 2013

Do you Pinterest? We do! Pinterest can be a great way to keep your interests and relevant links organized and find inspiration. Sometimes, however, Pinterest might be fueling unhealthy habits.

  • Pinterest can be addictive. Like any interactive website with a social media sharing aspect, users might plan on stopping at the site for a couple of minutes to get updated, and find themselves still on the site an hour later. Or, users may find themselves stopping by the site for short periods several times within the same hour. Kind of funny, right? The problem is, if you’re finding yourself becoming obsessive with Pinterest (or any other site), you are spending more time at the computer that you could spend getting some fresh air and/or being active.
Don't let Pinterest trick you into a sedentary lifestyle!

Don’t let Pinterest trick you into a sedentary lifestyle!

“But wait,” you object. “I primarily use Pinterest to motivate myself to work out and eat healthier. That does the opposite of keeping me sitting down longer!”

Which is awesome! There are still a couple of things to look out for, however:

  • Images. Have you ever noticed that a lot of the time, when you’re looking at fitness & health related pins, there are these young, sexy, very thin female bodies in the background? Seeing these images can sometimes affect us in an unhealthy way. It’s great to be motivated to be the best, most healthy you attainable. But the emphasis should be on health, not on being skinny, getting a six pack of abs, etc. We all have different bodies, and when we are healthy, we all look beautiful and we all look different. Another issue with the images that are often in the background on Pinterest is that many of them cut off the tops and bottoms of the model’s body. So instead of a person, we are seeing a stomach, a butt, etc. Such imagery reinforces the idea that women need to look a certain way, because you’re not viewed as a person, you’re viewed as an object. But you are not an object, you are a person. You are more than your waistline, you are not a display to set up in the window of a department store; your health is more important than fitting some image that was created by marketing departments, and never intended to reflect very much of reality.
Don't let images like this one corrupt your healthy mindset!

Don’t let images like this one corrupt your healthy mindset!

  • Pain Threshold. This issue can be related to group fitness classes, as well. In the prior point, we talked about the face that everyone has a different body. It is important to remember this fact when exercising. Everyone has a different body, with different strengths, different weaknesses, and different abilities. Not only do your abilities differ between you and other people, however – your body is different every day. You will have days when you are stronger and more flexible, and days when the opposite is true. The best judge of your body is you. So when you read or hear someone say something along the lines of “No Pain, No Gain,” or “If It’s Not Hurting, It’s Not Working,” you need to take that with a grain of salt. Yes, when you exercise properly, you should feel that tingly, exercise-burn sensation. If something legitimately hurts, however, that is your body telling you to stop. Sometimes, you don’t need to stop completely, but maybe just modify the exercise to take some pressure off of an area that needs a little bit less pressure today. The idea that you have to be in extreme pain in order to become fit, however, is simply wrong. Discomfort? Yes. Pain? No.
Listen to your body.

Listen to your body.

  • Form Issues. Not everyone who posts on Pinterest, or on the internet in general, is a fitness instructor. Sometimes, some of the pictures on Pinterest show improper form, or the pinner or author of the site pinned to writes how to do an exercise incorrectly. If a pin does not link to a creditable source, it is worth a quick Google search to ascertain that you have a proper understanding of how to perform the exercise correctly to avoid hurting yourself.

While these issues are ones to be mindful of, we are not saying you should not use Pinterest. Pinterest can be great! And there are a lot of safe, helpful fitness and health tips, tricks, and recipes on the Pinterest site. Just make sure not to spend so much time on it, you cannot enjoy the beautiful, sunny days left of summer. And always make sure that it is your health being promoted from (or confirmed by) an authoritative source.

Do you have any favorite Pinterest fitness and/or health boards? Let us know in the comments!

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