Known for its bitesize videos and viral dance trends, TikTok has also become the place where users share their health and fitness challenges, including quick fixes to lose weight quickly. However, experts have warned that some of these popular challenges are putting our health at risk. According to a study by European lingerie specialists Hunkemoller, more than a quarter (28%) of adults in the UK have tried a fitness trend after seeing it on social media. So which TikTok trends should you try and which should you avoid?
Which ‘healthy’ TikTok trends are harming people the most?
The “30-day gallon of water” challenge
The most popular fitness TikTok challenge found by Hunkemoller’s study was the “30-day gallon of water” challenge. This trend that has been tried by more than a third of Brits encourages users to drink 3.7 litres of water every day for a month. Created to help users shed pounds by flushing toxins (and water weight) out of their bodies, the side effects from this challenge can be quite harmful. Overconsuming water can not only cause kidney damage but can also lead to vomiting and headaches.
In the controversial “75 Hard” challenge, users are told to change many aspects of their daily life for 75 consecutive days, anywhere from doing two 45-minute daily workouts, to taking a 5-minute cold shower each day. As a result, the high level of restriction the 75 Hard trend encourages can negatively impact those who already struggle with poor body image and disordered eating.
How ‘healthy’ TikTok trends are setting unrealistic standards
With the hashtag #fittok currently at 681.5 million views, TikTok has quickly become the number one platform for sharing workouts and weight loss journeys. However, TikTok is also guilty of setting unrealistic health and beauty standards. Since many of these trends aren’t created by health professionals, some videos can end up spreading fitness misinformation in the name of “advice.” This “advice” can get people's hopes up about what's possible, and lead to frustration and self-blame if they don’t get the same results.
While TikTok can be a great source of motivation for your workouts and own fitness journey, it’s important to also look outside of this platform for healthy tips.
3 tips to exercise healthily:
1. Set realistic goals
Since it’s likely it’ll take some time to get the results you want, you can stay motivated by breaking down your ultimate fitness goal into smaller and more manageable stages.
2. Train with a friend
Stay on track by exercising with a friend. Not only will you both keep each other accountable, but they’ll motivate you to train on the days when you don’t feel like it.
3. Try something new
After a while, the same exercises can become boring. Mixing things up by trying new exercises, workouts and activities - like doing Pilates - can make sure you keep challenging your body as well.
Due to the sheer size of the social media platform, there is sadly a lot of misinformation regarding fitness practices on TikTok. That’s why when you’re using the app for your health and fitness goals, it’s important to do your research on the side, take everything with a pinch of salt, and remember that there are qualified and knowledgeable trainers on the platform - you just need to know where to find them.