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Health - Top Stories

Fitspiration is supposed to help people get healthy — but it's backfiring in a major way

INSIDER logoINSIDER 2018-05-10 cpraderio@businessinsider.com (Caroline Praderio)
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Instagram is crawling with fitness-related content. There are svelte personal trainers with millions of followers. There are memes to remind you that "you don't get the a-- you want by sitting on it." There are before-and-after photos, ab selfies, workout videos, inspirational quotes. There are currently more than 49 million posts with the hashtag #fitspo — the shortened version of "fitspiration," the word blend that combines "fitness" and "inspiration."

The intent behind fitspiration is clear. These posts are meant to motivate people to exercise, eat well, and take care of their bodies. In theory, that's a noble pursuit. 

But an emerging body of scientific evidence is showing that exposure to fitspiration may damage mental health. In a way, it seems, fitspiration is backfiring. 

Even general social media use could be bad for body image. 

😍👌🏼 Beautiful

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