Although many gyms and exercise facilities have reopened, not everyone is enthusiastic about working out indoors during a pandemic, especially while wearing a face mask. Many people continue to use online platforms to stay physically active at home, but a recent study found that not all fitness and exercise bloggers are qualified to be dispensing health advice.
According to a recent University of Alberta Folio post, the vast majority of exercise bloggers are not qualified to offer guidance regarding exercise and health. In fact, researchers found that of 194 popular fitness and exercise blogs, only 16.4 authors had any certifications despite 57 percent representing themselves as fitness professionals. And only 11 bloggers had proof of post-secondary education in a fitness-related field such as kinesiology.
Because so much of the blogging world is unregulated, it can difficult for people to differentiate between fitness professionals offering online guidance and those who may have little or no education regarding exercise sciences. As a result, incorrect information may be spread that could not only cause injury but also give readers unrealistic expectations of an exercise program’s benefits and the anticipated physical results.
Older adults in particular that leap into demanding online fitness programs may not only injure themselves by starting off too quickly but also experience frustration when results don’t measure up to expectations. Be wary of clicking on social media links that promise “too good to be true” fitness programs; lasting results from exercise takes time and effort, gradually increasing in intensity and duration. Although many of us would like to shed some mid-body weight, the goals of physical fitness should also include preserving physical function, relieving stress, improving sleep, and preventing chronic illness.
Not sure where to begin to find a trusted source for exercise advice? Check out the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging’s Active at Home video series here. As always, check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program and start off slowly.