Social media plays a huge part in society and is an everyday part of most people’s lives. Throughout lockdown it has been a saving grace for some people and they have been able to access content that has helped with their physical and mental wellbeing. But what influences who we follow? Do we follow people based on our own ethnicity and gender?
We thought it would be useful to get an insight into the role social media plays for both Mr Okunja and Ms Soni. Both teachers were born and raised in East London and have Black African and Indian heritage respectively.
I believe that sport and physical activity can have a huge impact on mental wellbeing and that this every bit as important as the physical benefits. If I had to name 5 of the most well-known and international sports people, public figures, social media influencers and brands to follow online names such as Jamie Velocity, Shaun T, Alexia Clark, & Redzone Runs would surely make the list. But what they all have in common is that they tend to originate from a Caucasian background.
It can feel as though these personas aren’t relatable to the lives that we each experience day to day and this can unknowingly have an effect on our mental wellbeing. However, when I think and have a look on my own social media timelines the key personas that have the most influence on my physical wellbeing tend to be local London-based accounts such as @Trainwithayy, @Coutnerfearon and @LEGAINS. The main reason I have chosen to follow them is due to the positive content that they create. Additionally, their workouts, guidance and support makes me feel personally supported and inspired to try new fitness challenges and strive to achieve my goals. By selecting such accounts, I can relate to them personally in contradiction to more mainstream content.
That being said, I have noticed a massive decline in the focus on mental wellbeing. Fewer Black, Asian and Minority ethnic personas seem to focus on the deep mental wellbeing challenges and issues that are faced by individuals daily. This may be due to the fear factor of opening up and allowing the wider community to have a view or opinion about the inner person under the skin. Or the need to portray a protective masculine shell that we create to not feel weak but given the current global climate I think it’s really important that we each find a way to support ourselves and each other through such challenging times. So, when it comes to opening up and expressing emotions on hard-hitting topics, I find it helpful to follow and listen to Podcasts from current and ex-sports men and women. The High-Performance podcast hosted by Jack Humphrey is a great example of this as it digs deep into the struggles and issues faced in sports and business environments and the tools and skills these individuals have used to find the motivation to succeed.
Here are a few suggestions of accounts to follow……
Nike Trainer (TheHiitMan) - @courtneyfearon_ (Instagram)
Personal trainer & Strength & conditioning coach at Millwall Fc - @trainwithayy (Instagram)
Personal trainer - @samss_r (instagram)
Nike Master trainer (Jamie Reynolds) - @Jamie_Velocity (Instagram)
High Performance Podcast - @MrJakeHumphrey (Twitter)
The first of my suggestions is @samss_r. Samra. She used to be a teaching assistant in the primary sector and left to pursue a career in Personal Training. Her energy and enthusiasm for fitness is quite inspiring as she comes from an Asian background and I believe is a role model to others too as she is willing to help anyone.
The other page I follow is @fitnessvwork on both Instagram and Twitter. Josh moved to Dubai about 3 years ago and continues to be Head of Media at a school whilst developing his careers as a fast-growing Fitness Influencer. He comes up with very easy workouts that anyone can follow and I’ve also signed up to his mailing list (which is free of charge via Twitter) where he sends out weekly emails on a Monday that normalise the expectations of exercise, nutrition and also provides advice on little wins such as calorie deficit and the impacts of going on a walk.