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Time Spent on Facebook and Twitter Means Less Time Working Out

Be honest: How many hours a week do you spend on Facebook and Twitter a week? Do you waste several hours each week commenting on your friend’s photos from Vegas and/or posting links to YouTube videos of old Nickelodeon cartoons? If so, chances are you’re not getting enough exercise as you could be.

According to a new study by the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology, time spent dicking around on social networks like Twitter and Facebook eat up your free time, including time you could be spending running, weightlifting, biking, etc. The more time you spend Liking those postcard memes and lurking on your old classmates’ Facebook page, the less time you’re burning calories. To put it simply, Facebook and Twitter are making people fat.

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Researchers at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology studied the results of an online survey completed by 350 students at the University of Ulster. The survey measured both physical activity and social networking habits.

According to the study, the amount of time spent on social networking websites correlated with a lack of physical activity on the respondents’ part. Researchers even found that those who used Facebook were less likely to participate in team sports.

Dr. Wendy Cousins, one of the supervisors of the study commented on the results: “Time is a finite resource, “said Cousins. “So time spent in social networking must come at the expense of other activities. Our study suggests that physical activity may be one of those activities.”

Surely, social networks aren’t the only distraction keeping people from working out during the week. Let’s not discount the time-sucking activities that are television and video games. Entertainment, it seems, is at odds with proper physical fitness. With more and more people using social networking sites every day (Facebook just hit 1 billion users), that’s more and more people uploading pictures of their dogs in zany situations who could be better spending their time working out.

What people need to remember is that working out is another form of entertainment. Sure, sitting on the sofa eating wings and watching the game might be more relaxing, but it’s nowhere near as fulfilling as pushing yourself to achieve a fitness goal. Whether it’s running a marathon or lifting incredible amounts of weight, getting fit can be a pretty fun and rewarding thing to do.

I spend a good amount of time every day bullshitting on Facebook. In fact, I actually post for several companies as part of my job. I don’t, however, spend so much time I forget to work out for the day. It is possible to find a balance between keeping in shape and not becoming that one hermit dude with zero social media presence.
If you’re finding that you’re not working out as much as you should be during the week, check and make sure you’re not spending ten hours a day lurking on your coworker’s page or sharing videos of people popping zits.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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