Updated 25 April 2013

Is social media healthy?

The time we spend on Facebook and Twitter can have both positive and negative effects on our health.

While I'm not likely to get tendonitis from too much texting, I do love to wile away the time spent waiting in school carparks wafting around on social media. It's one of the few opportunities during the week to touch base with friends and family and wish someone happy birthday and look at the latest baby pics.

It's not like I would be likely to spend that time being active anyway (for some reason my son doesn't encourage me to do aerobics in the parking lot in front of the school). I am aware, however, that there must be a health impact from spending time staring at the screen on my phone.

The research tells me there are positives and negatives, but like with most things, it's a matter of balance. If you're Facebooking while you jog, or Twittering on the treadmill, you probably aren't getting the mental or physical benefits that a focused workout would offer. But on the plus side, Twitter and Facebook can both be great ways to connect with other people who share your fitness goals, and get that high five for a goal reached.

Social media can also be a valuable way to connect when the health fates are not smiling on you - from coping with a baby with a fever to saying hi to a sick relative, it's an instant, easy way to ask for advice or connect.

What are your feelings? Do you think social media has a positive influence on your health and fitness? Or is it an unhealthy time vampire? Send us an email and your views could be published on Health24.


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