5 reasons to start your own health blog

Whether you’ve got a specific goal to reach or just want to lead a healthier life, starting a blog can help. Here’s how to get started’and why

5 reasons to start your own health blog

Source: Web exclusive: April 2009

Women the world over are blogging their way to self-improvement, and setting yourself up to join them couldn’t be easier. Sites such as Blogger and WordPress are simple to use and will host your blog for free, and both sites have simple instructions that will have you set up with a blog of your very own in minutes.

For those who prefer economic prose to lengthy discourse, you can also try the latest craze, microblogging, on sites like Twitter, where each entry you make (known as a ‘tweet’) can be no longer than 140 characters. (Follow Best Health on Twitter to get a feel for what it’s like.) Here’s why you should jump on the blogging bandwagon.

1. Blogging creates a community of support

Jennifer Kennett’s fun blog, Diary of a Real Girl, chronicles her weight loss goals and the fashionable treats she buys herself when she reaches them. The network of online friends she has made through her blog is incredibly supportive. ‘My blog gets hundreds of hits every day but in reality I live in a small town [Fort McMurray, Alta.] where I might only talk to three people in a day,’ she says. ‘The girls I’ve met online are the first to say congrats when I succeed and the first to kick my ass when I don’t.’

2. Your blog can be a great motivator

Erin Lee, who lives in Richmond, B.C., is keeping a blog to record her fitness goals as she trains to compete in Ironman Canada 2009; Angie Hall*, from Halifax, N.S., is blogging her journey to fitness. Both women love that other people find what they write inspiring. ‘It’s really rewarding to know that my successes are motivating other people,’ says Hall. ‘Knowing that there are 400 people checking in on me and drawing inspiration from my blog keeps me going.’

3. Blogging makes you feel good

Jennifer Stoddart, who lives in Vancouver, has been blogging about her health and happiness since 2005, and has up to 500 people a week reading her blog. Stoddart blogs because it makes her feel good. ‘Writing is cathartic,’ she explains. ‘I get to express how I’m feeling and I love that I have a little online community here. It helps me to know that people relate to what I’m saying.’

Julia Rosien, from Cambridge, Ont., says that every time she tweets something positive, it gives her a natural high. ‘It lifts my mood, especially when people respond to my positive tweets with more positivity,’ she says. Rosien often posts uplifting quotes or congratulatory messages to some of the more than 6,000 people following her updates.

4. You can blog incognito

Part of the appeal of blogging for some women is that it gives them anonymous accountability. That’s is certainly true for Cassie Hawthorne* from Peterborough, Ont., who uses Twitter to deliver hit and run confessions on her eating habits, weight loss and exercise habits. ‘Blogging has been a really positive step in my life,’ says Hawthorne. ‘Although I’m blogging anonymously, I’m still being honest with myself. I don’t want people I know to know my weight, or that I’m not sticking to my goal’I’m doing this for me and it’s nobody else’s business.’

5. Blogging builds supportive friendships

As readers start to follow your blog’and as you do the same with them’you’ll connect with people that you have things in common with and often those friendships will spill into real life. Stoddart, for example, meets regularly with a group of local bloggers and met her current best friend through her blog. But even if you never end up physically meeting the people you connect with online, it doesn’t mean that the friendships will be any less real. ‘Many of the people I’ve met online know more about me than some of my real friends,’ says Hall. ‘There is an amazing sense of camaraderie amongst bloggers.’ Having friends that support your working toward a healthier you is always a good thing, whatever form that support takes.

*Names changed by request

Do you have a health, fitness or other goal-oriented blog? Share it with us in the comments!

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