Your routine is out of whack, your BODYPUMP™ and spin classes are on hold and there’s no one to chat to over the dumbbell rack. These are unprecedented and stressful times, but that doesn’t mean you should pull down the blinds and cut off all contact with the outside world.
Staying active, engaged and in touch can help you beat down stress, bolster your health and feel less alone. But how do you connect in a time of self-isolation and social distancing?
By sharing your journey with a like-minded community… online. The Centr Facebook community has been helping us stay positive – if you’re a Centr member, be sure to check it out.
Yes, social media CAN be socially healthy. Now is the time for online communities to come into their own – offering support, replacing negativity with positivity and isolation with togetherness. If you’re determined to keep up your fitness, they’re also great at giving you a kick up the butt.
Let’s take a look at the positive benefits of online communities when social distancing.
1. Make it all mean something
It may come as a surprise, but the internet is not all cat memes and divisive politics. Meaningful conversations are taking place online, and in some cases, creating entire uplifting movements – just look at the musicians going on “Instagram tours” while in lockdown, or the response when comedian Celeste Barber posted a call out for people to help with the Australian bushfire crisis.
If the gym is now off limits, you’re probably wondering what that means for the fitness resolutions you set at the start of 2020. Effective home workouts while practicing safe social distancing are a hot commodity – and you’ll find plenty of those on Centr. But when you join Centr, you’re not only joining Chris Hemsworth’s team of trainers, chefs and well-being experts, but a global community sharing humor, tips, motivation and generally cheering each other on.
Online communities can provide a vital support network and emotional boost.
Seeing a group of people still working towards their health and fitness goals while enduring the same crazy circumstances you are is the spur you need to keep pushing and come out the other end of this thing fitter and stronger than you were when you went in. And hey, you might finally master pull-ups!
2. Stress relief
Humans are tribal by nature – a sense of connection and belonging is key for our happiness. When we don’t have that connection, loneliness can lead to anxiety, depression, a loss of confidence and even increase our risk of physical illness. In the face of coronavirus, finding ways to combat stress is even more important – as stress suppresses your immune system. Maintaining relationships and social interactions online will help you stay upbeat and strong.
3. Find your people
Just because you can’t get to the movies or the comic book store right now doesn’t mean you can’t geek out about all things Marvel with your peeps. The internet is full of people sharing the things they enjoy with like-minded nerds, bookworms, metalheads, knitting enthusiasts – you name it! Fitness is no exception.
It can be tough to track your progress when you’re working out at home alone, and who do you ask for protein powder recommendations? Comparing nutrition notes, asking for advice and tackling challenges together in a supportive online fitness forum like the Centr community can be the difference between falling off the rails or staying on track to your goals. And frankly, sometimes it’s the difference between working out feeling like a chore or making it fun.
4. A safe space
From group chats for new mothers to support groups for cancer sufferers and their carers, the internet has become an essential support network for many. Such online communities create a safe space to discuss concerns, find solutions and take comfort that you’re not alone in what you’re going through. A 2018 study found that an online depression forum on Reddit improved the mental health of members, with negative language being replaced by positivity as time went on.
5. Spreading kindness
In a suburb of Melbourne in 2016, a cat went missing. Thinking there must be a better solution than sticking flyers on poles, the owner started a Facebook page – which has now spread around the country. Known as the Good Karma Network, it helps local communities connect online and spread positivity out into their actual neighborhoods, whether by swapping clothes, recommending a good plumber or, these days, locating a supermarket stocked with toilet paper!
Have you spread any digital kindness today?
Find a feel-good pocket of the internet or your own small ways to spread some digital kindness: share a meme, send an email or text to your grandma to check how she’s doing, post about a positive interaction or simply congratulate someone on a success.
Hey, if people meet their future husbands and wives online, we can find friends online too! From sci-fi fan hangouts to parents’ groups, there are so many shared interests and goals out there that connect people. Our Centr community is full of “accountability buddies” – members turning to each other for that extra push to stay on track. Or as member Krista put it: “When I needed motivation to get my arse in gear I didn't have to look far.” So if you miss going to the gym with a friend, there is a whole world waiting to work out with you.
If you’re a Centr member, don’t forget to join our Facebook community – share your highs and lows, and remember that you are not alone out there!
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