Scrolling through gym selfies could ruin your self-esteem: Study

The results showed that people who looked at more workout posts were more likely to be overly concerned about their weight and body image, compared to those who didn't see many fitness-related posts.

Scrolling through gym selfies could ruin your self-esteem: Study
Image courtesy: @ShahidKapoor/@KatrinaKaif/Instagram (Representational image)

New Delhi: Selfies seem to have become second nature for millennials. Any moment in time, people can be seen stretching out their arms, twisting their wrists in an awkward angle to click that perfect selfie, which will then be uploaded on social media platforms for the world to see.

Weddings, parties, holidays, a casual meeting with friends are just some of the moments when people indulge a selfie moment, but now, there are people who also post selfies taken in the gym.

Be it to encourage or inspire others to adopt a healthy lifestyle or to just simply show off their transformation progress, social media platforms are flooded with 'gym selfies'.

A study, however, has said that selfies in the gym may ruin one's self-esteem.

According to a report in TIME, Tricia Burke, an assistant professor in the department of communication studies at Texas State University, wanted to know why that is — and what scrolling past all of those workout selfies and half marathon medals are doing to your psyche.

The study that surveyed 230 people who were active on social media about their thoughts on their own health, fitness and weight; how often workout posts appeared on their timelines; the people posting about exercise; their own tendency to compare themselves to others, etc, found an association between health content and those who view it.

The results showed that people who looked at more workout posts were more likely to be overly concerned about their weight and body image, compared to those who didn't see many fitness-related posts.

This effect was even more pronounced if the viewer thought of herself as similar to the poster, Burke adds, as perceived similarity may give rise to more side-by-side comparisons about size, fitness, and physical ability, TIME reported.

The bright side, however, was that seeing health-related posts was actually correlated with a positive attitude toward exercise, indicating a motivating factor.

The average social media user likely isn’t consciously aware of which camp she falls into, Burke says. The point is more than what people see on social media does have an impact, which may vary from person to person.

“We should be careful about the way that we’re phrasing things,” she says. “We should be responsible posters and try to have a proactive, pro-health, positive message that makes people feel capable of engaging in these health behaviors.”

The study was published in the journal Health Communication.

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