Researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum revealed the benefits of choosing physical activity over social media use. The study is published in the Journal of Public Health.
The researchers recruited 642 volunteers, aged 18–64 years, and conducted a series of experiments over a period of 14 days. The participants were divided into three groups: a social media (SM) group, a physical activity (PA) group, a combination group, and a control group.
The SM group reduced their daily time on social media while the PA group increased their daily time of exercise over social media. The participants of the combination group reduced their daily social media use time and engaged in physical activity more. The control group did not receive specific instructions on behavioral change.
At the end of the experiments, the participants responded to multiple online surveys. They answered questions on the intensity and emotional significance of social media use, physical activity, life satisfaction, feeling of happiness, depressive symptoms, the psychological burden of the Covid-19 pandemic, and smoking habits.
The results provided interesting insights into the link between increased exercise, reduced use of social media, and mental health. In fact, by spending 30 minutes less on social media and replacing social media with exercise—we can yield great long-term benefits for both our mental and physical well-being.
One of the lead researchers, Julia Brailovskaia, elaborated: “This shows us how vital it is to reduce our availability online from time to time and to go back to our human roots. These measures can be easily implemented into one’s everyday life and they’re completely free—and, at the same time, they help us to stay happy and healthy in the digital age.”
To Know More You May Refer To
Brailovskaia, J., Swarlik, V. J., Grethe, G. A., Schillack, H., & Margraf, J. (2022). Experimental longitudinal evidence for causal role of social media use and physical activity in COVID-19 burden and mental health. Journal of Public Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-022-01751-x