I am generalising here, but usually your phone/tablet/laptop is the first thing you see in the morning and last thing you may see at night. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, reddit… Social media is everywhere (even if you try and ignore it). Through these information sources we are now constantly bombarded with information, facts, and opinion pieces about health and fitness which can include current trends such as paleo or crossfit.
For example, scrolling through my own facebook this morning, I could have already read:
- “10 tips for running faster”
- “back pain myths – you need a core”
- “the secret to staying healthy: Get the lymphatic system moving”
- “Annoyed by loud chewing, the problem is you”
This is fantastic… to a point! We can be inspired and informed. However, let’s remember that the internet is for everyone. Give someone a keyboard and wifi and they can become an expert. Do you ever ask yourself if the articles are clinically accurate, suitable to you and worthwhile of the time reading it. Have the authors studied the area, read journal articles or are they just chucking some words on a page? How do we know what authors bias’ are? Are they just putting fancy headlines with links to webpages so they can earn money on advertising? We cannot be completely sure.
It should make us question, where is this information from?
Fitspo (which stands for fit inspiration) is now massive in social media. For example, 150,000 plus people follow a famous instagram blogger who shares fitness, nutrition and health tips based on the blogger’s own transformation. Like many insta-famous people, this blogger has no official qualifications apart from being signed by a modelling agency and becoming an ambassador to multiple clothing and dietary companies. Don’t get me wrong, they are fabulous for posting motivational quotes but when they post workout/nutrition tips and ebooks, we must start to question the advice? But do we?
Why can this become an issue you ask?
Misinformation could lead to injury, illness or ill-health. The 7.30 Report (ABC) that reported a story based on young dancers that were copying moves and training tips off professionals facebooks and instagram sites. This led to one dancer dislocating her coccyx and another developing a stress fracture, mainly because these dancers were not ready to attempt that move. A trained dancer teacher would have been able to give these individuals, personalised advice and sources of reliable information, which may have prevented these damaging injuries.
With all that said, I love social media (am possibly addicted)! There is a dearth of information available that I never had access to growing up. It’s just think it’s very important to take what you read at face value. So how can you interpret fact vs fiction? Here are some ideas on where to start.
- Visit a health care professional and get personalised information that related to you.
- Determine who they author is and if they have certifications (and where from)?
- Don’t read just one article; read numerous and see what different experts believe.
- If you are really interested, find some reviews (systematic are the best) and delve into the scientific world.
To conclude, I feel like i should quote the Grail Knight from Indiana Jones…. ”You must choose. But choose wisely”