” It really seems that this obsession only grew in our home during the pandemic. “, tell us Nadia Craddock, researcher at the Center for Appearance Research, a research program at the University of Bristol dedicated to appearance and self-image. In itself, this isn’t a bad thing. ” Of course, exercise, movement, sport and physical activity in general are associated with a large number of benefits from the point of view of physical or mental health, but also for our social and civil life. “. However, Nadia Craddock notes that the pressure to stay fit, and especially during the pandemic when there is not much else to do, can also have a negative impact on our physical and mental health.
Look fit or be healthy
In his work, Jürgen Martschukat states that the primary goal of fitness today is ” own, shape and maintain a fit body “. But things get complicated when you confuse being fit with looking fit.” We probably attach more importance to the appearance of the shape than to actual health “, he continues. In fact, it only takes a few minutes on Instagram to understand that fitness influencers are not so much characterized by their physical abilities (which we don’t really know much about) as by their muscular and toned appearance. However, this vision of fitness as an aesthetic goal can be done precisely at the expense of the functional benefits of physical exercise.
Emilia, 31, who has always been used to attending sports clubs, found herself a bit lost when they had to close their doors while in prison. So she signed up for a fitness class via Instagram. ” It was great to have access to daily workouts, I was inspired by the physical appearance of the coach and since I didn’t have much else to do, I started following a lot of fitness influencers on Instagram, all with fantastic bodies. “.
Driven by a desire to look fit like the fitness gurus she saw popping up on her Instagram feed, rather than a desire to feel healthy, Emilia she quickly found herself plagued by a fixation for exercise. ” I walked two hours a day and kept watching the training videos on the page, saw the results on my body. It seemed great at first, but then I started getting more and more picky about different details of my physique and set the bar higher and higher. “. What purpose? The pursuit of physical form seen through the prism of aesthetics is only an avatar of the pursuit of perfection. And who determines it? When does it stop?