How Social Media Affects Physical Health

Many studies highlight how social media can harm mental health, but new research suggests a connection to chronic inflammation.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. No one likes to feel tricked, especially about their health. That’s why every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness with quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Stat of the week

  • The diet domino effect

  • This is your body on social media

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Stat of The Week: 45 Minutes

The amount of weekly exercise you need to experience a 20 percent reduction in depressive symptoms compared to no movement.

That was the result of a 10-year study on more than 4,000 adults researching the relationship between physical activity, depressive symptoms, and major depressive disorder. The more you exercise (up to 300 minutes per week or more), the lower your likelihood of depressive symptoms and major depressive disorder. However, the benefits start at just 45 minutes per week, including low-intensity exercise such as walking. 

The Diet Domino Effect

Breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day, but what you eat for your first meal could set you up for success the rest of the day. 

Research suggests that adding protein to your breakfast can cause a domino effect that helps control your appetite and improve your food choices for the rest of the day. 

We know that diets that tend to be higher in ultra-processed foods are associated with more weight gain and worse health outcomes. But it also appears that people who eat more of those foods tend to eat less protein. So, researchers investigated what happens when you consume more protein, specifically to start the day. 

They found that eating a higher-protein breakfast helps reduce the calorie-loaded foods you eat the rest of the day and makes it less likely to consume foods high in saturated fats, sugar, and salt. 

While protein is not a cure-all, a significant amount of research suggests that diets with at least a moderate amount of protein are associated with muscle gain, fat loss, bone health, longevity, and appetite control. 

If you’re looking for a way to add protein to your breakfast, there’s no shortage of good options. Most traditional cold cereals don’t have protein, but we recently found Magic Spoon, which recreates your favorite childhood flavors with less sugar and 13 grams of protein per serving. As a member of the positive corner of the internet, use the code “PUMPCLUB” to receive $5 off your order. Other great options that you can make quickly include eggs, Greek yogurt, breakfast tacos with beans and lentils, or a protein shake

This Is Your Body On Social Media

We already know that too much social media can make you less positive, decrease happiness, and even reduce your strength in the gym. And now comes the latest reason to scroll a little less:

New research suggests that social media use could contribute to chronic inflammation. 

Inflammation is oftentimes misunderstood because we assume it’s all bad when — in reality — you need inflammation. After all, it’s your body’s natural protective reaction to stress, damage, or infection. Inflammation helps you recover from exercise and protects you from illnesses and diseases (A fever is an inflammatory response designed to help you fight an infection).

However, if you experience chronic inflammation, where your body stays in “fight” mode, then your body becomes overstressed and starts to break down. Chronic inflammation is tied to high stress, loneliness, poor diet, and a lack of exercise or sleep. And it is linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health conditions. 

Previous research suggested social media led to short-term increases in inflammation, but that alone isn’t necessarily a health concern. The new study was a different story. The latest research used a screen time app to measure how much time people spent on social media and then took blood samples to assess C-reactive protein, a common measure of inflammation. The researchers found that those who spent the most time on social media had the highest levels of inflammation after five weeks. 

We know kicking the social media habit is hard, so start with small wins. That could be avoiding social media to begin your day, before your workout, or once you enter your bedroom before going to sleep. You don’t need to go off social media entirely, but the less you use it, the more it might benefit your health. 

That’s it for this week. Thanks again for being a part of the village. Stay positive, and we hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell