Use social media to stay healthy

December 2012

Discovering more healthy rewards online

Social media can be used for much more than just sharing the latest news with your friends and family (and in some cases, complete strangers!). Twitter, Facebook, and other utilities and apps can be powerful tools in helping people help each other stay healthy.

Studies have found that friends and family can have a huge influence on our health. Whether it’s sharing information or supporting each other, social media can be very useful in helping people set and reach goals for better health.

Why social media is great for health goals

The Internet puts information at your fingertips. With social media, people and organizations can share the latest research and news about health. But keep in mind that everything you read online isn’t true. Take the time to weed out the good info from the bad.

Social media also makes it easy to update others about accomplishments and setbacks. Your online network can give you support through thick and thin.

Finally, many fitness devices integrate with social media accounts. By posting up–to–the–minute updates on your daily walk or your marathon training, you may be more motivated to stick with it.

Get connected to get healthy

Social media is not just for sharing the latest news about events in your life. It can help you get healthy, too.

Whether you set up a Facebook group to discuss your health goals, use Twitter to send updates about how you’re doing, or encourage and support each other using Google groups, you can use social media to network and share information. Here are some ways to make social media work for your health.

Find a buddy
Do you want to lose a few pounds? Or maybe stop smoking? Whether your plans are big or little, figure out what you want to accomplish for yourself and find a friend who has similar goals. Even if the goals aren’t exactly the same (for instance, you may be trying to reduce cholesterol while your friend is trying to build muscle tone), you can still share info about how you’re doing and support each other.

Post helpful articles and information
Did you read a good article on ways to sneak healthy foods into your diet (hint, hint: you can find some here on Humana.com)? Or maybe you saw a great video that shows the proper way to do arm exercises using weights? Are there any awesome apps that you found helpful? Whatever your common health goals, share information and tools that you think will help your group.

Update each other
Constant support can be a very strong motivator. Track each other’s progress and update your own status regularly. Did you make it to the gym? Did you slip and have a cigarette? Did you have too many bites of dessert? When you know you have to report how you’re doing, you’re less likely to slip up.

Help each other through setbacks
Very few people are able to reach health goals without some setbacks. But the fact is, it can be much easier to get past those glitches and keep moving forward when you have support. Having someone say, “Hey, I understand how tough it is to stick to a workout routine,” or “I’ve slipped too” can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to stick to a health plan.

Share tips
What worked for you? What didn’t? How did you get past the biggest challenges, and what can you tell others about your experience that might help them reach their goals? One of the best ways to use social media is to give each other that “hands on” advice that comes from going through a similar experience.

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