Social Media is changing the way people stay in shape. Microblogging platforms like Twitter allow people to easily share quick tips, news, and advice while also facilitating a large and diverse support system. Facebook, blogs, and online forums provide a space where people can discuss and learn about healthy active lifestyles. Inspirational stories now travel faster, influence more people, and reach a broader audience.
Social Media is also changing the nature of some sporting events. An example that has been in the news frequently this October is marathon running. The sport is often viewed as an individual activity however social media has made it easier for participants to build a strong community around each event. Marathoners are able to go online to meet other runners, learn about upcoming events, and provide advice and encouragement. They share training tips, music playlists, and comment on any recent accomplishments. People who enjoy watching marathon events are able to use social media to share major news, highlights (spills and thrills), and final results live from their smartphones.
The Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon was in Toronto this past Sunday with over 20,000 people participating from all over the world. Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gilles both qualified for the London Olympics in 2012. This marks the first time in 10 years that Canada will send two athletes to the event. Coolsaet crossed the finish line with a time of 2:10.55, the fastest for a Canadian on home soil. Their results were filling Twitter feeds before they were even deemed official and the word spread quickly through the massive crowd that had gathered near the Scotia Plaza.
At the same event Indian-born Fauja Singh shamed every able-bodied person when at 100 years old he completed the 42km race and earned himself a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. He completed with a time of 8:25, almost two hours longer than he was expecting. His story inspired all those who attended the event and people were tweeting his progress throughout the day. Singh started marathons 20 years ago at the age of 80 and he now runs 16 km a day. He became an inspiration to many and a topic of online conversations even before he could cross the finish line.Has social media influenced you to live a more healthy and active lifestyle? Do you think social dynamics in sports has been changed by online platforms?