This is the first in a two-part series of articles on Best Practices for Internet Fitness and Health Advice. Given you are theoretically here seeking said advice, hopefully, you will find the information useful.
It’s kind of strange writing this article as I have an Internet health and fitness advice blog. But, there are some important things to consider even with the information you find here. Take, for example, my friend Eric. He has problems with anxiety, stress, and an overactive bladder. Thinking about it, it’s probably his overactive bladder which causes him the most stress and anxiety! He has not only used the “marvels of modern medicine” to control his problems; but, he has also availed himself of meditation, Tai Chi, acupuncture, and, maybe most importantly, a positive outlook. Taken together, these efforts have helped control his health problems most of the time.
Eric isn’t one for medication. He’s more of a “hard work” kind-of-guy who eschews medication’s side effects. He would rather take on more personal responsibility for his health and fitness than to simply get some benefit out of taking a pill. Eric believes medication CAN work. He simply believes in looking at all possible choices first before making decisions that could impact his fitness and health. He’s not afraid to commit to a course of action if he believes it will address areas of concern. That’s an option; but, it’s not for everyone. Thankfully, information abounds for options to address fitness and health problems we may all experience. But, not all information is created equal.
Health and Fitness Advice History
As you look back over time, as soon as man recognized his mortality, he began searching for ways to defeat it. Medical science at the time probably consisted of seeing the tribe medicine man or healer. Treatment might be harsh and uncomfortable. Time passed and, as man’s knowledge expanded in all areas, medical science was no different. Writing, the scientific method, identifying the Periodic Table of Elements, medical research, clinical trials, improved pharmaceuticals, town doctors, family doctors, hospitals, etc. have all contributed to making mankind’s lifespans longer than at any other time. Some data suggests the current generation may be the first in a long while whose way of life may result in an overall shorter lifespan than the previous generation.
That’s not to say the current generation is satisfied with the situation. On the contrary, now more than ever, the airwaves and the inter-webs are filled with advertisements for quick and dirty solutions to improve skin, regrow hair, lose your belly fat, and increase your libido. There is a regular smorgasbord available for those that wish to indulge. And indulge they do. The health and fitness pharmaceutical industry is a $100 billion+ business and growing. It is buoyed greatly by the “supplements” industry which, unlike “drugs”, do not require clinical trials to prove their efficacy nor the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval to get to market.
Couple supplements with medical devices supposedly designed to address some fitness and health issue and you can see why today’s need-it-right-now-without-work generation is enamored with them. You see, many can’t abide by the time to gather knowledge so they can spot the scams and protect themselves from wasting time and money on useless solutions. Still, emergency rooms continue to do a booming business. Aches and pains which previously may have been addressed with a home remedy are leading Millennials to the local hospital or Ready Med facility seeking help. They failed to pay attention when their parents and grandparents tried to impart the knowledge acquired over generations on these issues. No longer is there a handy issue of “The Home Physician” or similar book on their shelves or in a frequently opened cabinet. They don’t have the patience to consult such publications. They would rather waste half-a-day sitting in a waiting room full of snotty-nosed kids and jobless people with who-knows-what bugs coursing through their system. Thankfully, for Millennials (and the rest of us), there is a fast-paced alternative to their parent’s solutions. Enter the Internet.
Fitness and Health Advice Online
There is a literal cornucopia of fitness and health advice available online. Medical encyclopedias which are searchable and self-help advice and diagnostic websites usually offer the best advice (in my estimation). Always consider the source. Information from “BobsHomeRemedies.com” may not have as much fidelity and use as something from “MayoClinic.org”, for example. That’s not to say you can’t pluck the occasional gem from Bob. You can. Such advice may be free, but the old phrase “Caveat Emptor” or “Let the Buyer Beware” applies in force. If something seems too good (or strange) to be true, it probably is. Seek out other sources that promote the same thing as a solution to your problem. But, beware of confirmation bias. If Source “A” says a thing is good and works and cites Source “B” who says it is good because Source “A” likes it, you may want to turn and run.
One thing you must watch out for is people who internalize every affliction or health and fitness challenge to which they are exposed. These are people like Eric’s sister. She’s one of those Millennial’s who has her nose buried in her phone seemingly 24-hours a day. She thinks she has every affliction which comes across her feed. Everything advertised to improve one’s fitness and health becomes a “must-have” and her apartment is overflowing with “As Seen on TV” products she was convinced would get rid of cellulite, help her lose weight, get rid of the bags under her eyes, improve her sleeping, make her shapely without any effort, and so many more. If she went to doctors, they would most likely diagnose her as a hypochondriac or “a person who is overly anxious about their health”.
Most of us have multiple sources for our fitness and health advice. Whether that advice is handed down through our families or we glean it from the inter-webs, it’s a good idea to test that advice against common sense and its history before we decide to implement it. No one should want to end up like Eric’s sister with a domicile full of probable useless junk on which we’ve wasted our hard-earned money.
In part two of our series, we will examine the importance of our fitness and health mindset and how solutions from the past are receiving renewed interest, primarily due to the proliferation of social media solutions.