A potentially huge side-effect of excessive use of social media – besides ironically the underdevelopment of social skills – has emerged through research in the field.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the US have identified a link between depression and social networks. And the key to beating it could be an increased emphasis on fitness. The tests found that in comparison to the subjects who didn’t frequently visit the social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram among others – those who did so, had a 2.7 time higher likelihood of depression. Further, even among those subjects who did use social media, those who spent less time on it, had a lower risk of depression. Those who spent the most amount of their day on social networks had a 1.7 times higher risk.

In addition, researchers considered engaging in some online activities automatically gives the user a feeling of having wasted time, which negatively impacts their mood. The current research follows studies in 2009 and 2013 which also established a link between mental depression and social media usage.

Emphasis is clearly needed on these factors to limit the use of social media, however, one easy way to tackle these feelings is by keeping a regular fitness regime such as running or strength training, which gives people an outlet to some negative emotions, and also alters their mood naturally.

Firstly, running or a calming exercise like yoga helps you achieve a sense of awareness and increases your concentration levels, which lets you come to clear conclusions about many of the things that may be bothering you. One of the tenets of yoga is the concentration on breathing and using your gaze to get focused. This heightens your thinking capacity and also allows you a moment to reflect. This is crucial when it comes to matters of the mind. Just recently research has linked increased thinking capacity to having a healthy heart.

Secondly, running is one of the many ways to naturally give your mind a euphoric feeling. The release of endorphins after a short run – even 15 minutes – gives you a rush, revered as the runner’s high. That’s not a myth, and it actually keeps you positive for some time to come.

So it’s wise to hit the logout button every once in a while and actually go outside to get some form of exercise going. But if you are not going to cut down on social media use, the least you can do to keep your mind at ease is to give it every chance to deal with this ‘#firstworldproblem’. Get out and run, or get a session of yoga under your belt every now and then. It will keep your mind and body fit!

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