Today I want to address the issue of using the Internet as a prime tool for obtaining health and fitness information. In a recent study by the Pew Internet Project, eight in 10 people use the Internet to look for health information, with only 75 percent verifying the credibility of the source and the date it was created. I would believe this is probably also true of most things…including fitness.
Now I’ve been quite candid in past entries about my disdain for canned workout and diet programs and I believe the Internet has exploited this problem to levels that are unacceptable. Online, you can find a range of health and fitness directories, articles,products and services which allow anyone – from teenagers to the elderly – to find instant solutions to their weight problems. But with so many health and fitness information sites online there is concern that people are taking their health into their own hands. What’s worse is they may be putting it in the hands of someone with no real credentials or experience.
Other problems with online fitness programs/resources include:
1) Online fitness sites are not regulated, meaning there is no guarantee that the information provided is accurate or complete. There’s also no insurance that these fitness sites are even written by fitness experts and that applies to both aesthetically-challenged websites and the more official-looking ones.
2) One size fits all plans are often prone failure, and this is usually because of one simple reason: your needs are not being met. This can cause a lot of undue stress as people will move from one program to the other in hopes that one will eventually work. It wont!
3) Articles and programs found on many of these sites are written by ghost writers of professional hired guns that know absolutely nothing about the topic they are covering. Many sites try to boost their rank with just such common SEO tactics.
4) Administrators of health and fitness sites may be more interested in marketing opportunities than your health. Though some health and fitness websites have the honest intention of informing the public with the most up-to-date and accurate information, they may also try to recommend supplements or pharmaceuticals to drive profits, which may yield little to no benefits for people.
Only a face-to-face consultation with your qualified health and fitness proferssional can provide you with a proper assessment and exercise prescription. This may mean seeking one who has examined hundreds of cases, providing them with a frame of reference from which they can make sound judgements for you.
That is not to say that doing it all yourself and locating health information on the Internet is noxious or of no use. Responsible and controlled research may actually lead to better health care by preparing people with a better understanding of their bodies and the ability to ask informed questions when under the care of a qualified fitness professional.
If I have only one mission in life…it is to slowly and steadily help dilute the polluted information highway and bring my reader real world knowledge and skills. My next post will offer some solutions and recommendations when scouring the Internet for the latest and greatest fitness program.