An Evaluation of Fitspiration Viewing and Exercise Behavior in College Students

Kristen Welker, Artur Krysiuk, Sarah Philpot, Laura Nabors, Jordan Goffena

Abstract


Social media is widely used by college students, and is used for retrieving health information. “Fitspiration” (fitness and inspiration) pages are common on many popular social networking sites. Fitspiration pages have been previously associated with short term motivation for exercise and decreased body satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to explore ways in which viewing fitspiration pages may influence exercise behaviors for college students. Additionally, this study sought to explore if particular types of fitspiration pages can encourage increased exercise. This study utilized a cross-sectional survey approach and was distributed to college students at a large Midwestern university. About half of the students viewed fitspiration pages, and students who viewed fitness pages reported exercising more than those who did not. Students who viewed fitspiration pages also reported exercising for muscle-gain, enjoyment, fitness, reduced stress, and feeling better. CrossFit pages and professional fitness organization pages were associated with increased exercise. Students did not report feeling motivated by fitspiration. Additional research is needed to explore the relationships between fitspiration page viewing and fitness goals, and identify additional reasoning for viewing these pages.


Keywords


Fitspiration; physical activity; college health; social media

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References


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Based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, USA, The Journal of Social Media in Society is sponsored by the Colleges of Liberal and Fine Arts, Education, Business Administration, and Graduate Studies.