Why is Everyone Exercising on Instagram?

Today showing off a gym drill on Instagram is becoming as de-riguer as putting on your underwear before your clothes!


Recently yesteryears’ pop sensation Britney Spears posted a work-out video montage on Instagram. The 35-year-old showed off her taut, toned body as she stretched and hit the weights while also treating us to some seriously mind-blowing handstand skills. Dressed in a tiny bikini top and micro shorts, Britney, who looked in her fittest shape ever, was effectively able to prove to millions of her followers that she may have commendably recovered from that very public meltdown a decade ago!.

Today, everyone from Hillary Swank to Dwayne Rock-Johnson has taken to Instagram to show to the world that in between their hectic schedules and shoot commitments, miraculously there is always time to post a carefully curated gym session.

Britney. Photo: Instagram

If the post noughties-era was about posting exotic holidays on social media, today that space is being overtaken over by an ever-increasing crowd of Internet ‘fit-istas.’

From seasoned gym junkies to wannabe celebrities posting their daily dozens with extreme religiosity, it seems today showing off a gym drill on Instagram is becoming as de-riguer as putting on your underwear before your clothes!

You can guess that this new me-too-fit-as-a-fiddle craze is serious business when even someone, like Ashley Graham, who for years had been the poster girl for plus-size, too takes to Instagram to update her frequent trapeze like workout moves. It is leaving an entire plus-sized community, for whom she vociferously advocated, perplexed if she too is giving in to the body image pressure.

Back in Bollywood, the new let’s-ride-the-fitness-bandwagon seems to be becoming the mantra for many a fading star who wants to stay relevant in these days of limited work but not-so-limited ambitions. So, you have a Shilpa Shetty on Instagram showing you how to blend a health smoothie while asking you to go on a sugar-free diet with her. You also have the likes of Bhagyashree(we don’t blame you for asking, who?) showing more commitment to their yoga mats than they ever did to their career!

In this world of social media celebrities, it is becoming increasingly easy for just about everyone to offer advice and aspirations to millions of starry-eyed followers who are looking to ape the glitzy looking lifestyles edited for Internet perfection.

Shilpa Shetty. Photo: Instagram

But in this attempt to emulate every twist and twirl depicted by these Internet influencers, are we failing to see the precisely planned personal branding strategy behind it? After all you have to be really naïve to believe that even when Khloe Kardashian posts a picture after hours of extreme workouts involving weights and dumbbells, her hair and make-up continueto look more coiffed than origami folds.

However, there may be another more serious problem with these new fitness posts on Internet — that of starting a trend of giving out unsolicited and potentially harmful health advice. After all, everyone who is pumping iron on Instagram is not a fitness expert and even though there is something that may be working for someone, it may pose a risk for some other unsuspecting follower smitten by the perfection of these orchestrated moves. And even if you may be too lazy to move a bone, just looking at those often photo-shopped pictures can lead to a negative self-esteem. After all, nobody ever felt proud of their saggy thighs after looking at the sexiest six-pack abs being pumped even more in a gym.

Earlier this year, a study released by the Royal Society for Public Health and Young Health Movement titled #StatusofMind revealed that Instagram is the worst social media for mental health and well-being. The photo-sharing platform was found to be leading its users to experience anxiety, depression, bullying and fear of missing out. The report said that social media usage often leads to compare and despair attitude.

The report recommends that the companies should find a way to highlight when pictures have been digitally manipulated.

Bhagyashree. Photo: Instagram

Worryingly on social media, there is growing tribe of fitness enthusiasts and trainers without proper credentials propagating health based tips and ideas. Although there are also certified experts highlighting the ill-effects of unsolicited advice, often it all gets jumbled up in a maze.

While it is impossible to also ignore the influence of fitness trainers like Kayla Itsines of the Sweat with Kayla app, which was awarded the most profitable fitness app of 2016, one needs to sieve between the real deal and a fictionalized portrayal.

So, go ahead follow all these dancers, racers, acrobats, gym goers if you must. So long as they inspire you to utilize your potential it may work well. But the next time you spot a perfectly immaculate, fresh as a peony starlet pumping out intense gym sessions without breaking a sweat, do compliment her for her smart branding moves. For her sensible workouts? Well, not so much!

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