Fake news is everywhere. The saying used to go, “You can’t believe everything you see on TV.” Now the old adage is more like, “You can’t believe everything you see on TV or find online.” This unfortunate truth doesn’t just apply to the news. It also applies to exercise information. You really can’t believe everything you read or watch online, and it can be quite the challenge ciphering out the good information from the bad. This post is meant to help you identify quality resources for online exercise information.
Research Supported Content
A top indicator of quality online exercise information is if the article or blog references scientific research as the source of the advice and recommendations provided. It’s also worth mentioning that the research sources provided should be closely noted in an effort to identify biased information. Oftentimes, a company may pay for research to promote a product or service. Paid research can churn out biased results.
Researching the author of the information you’re reading will help determine whether or not they have the credentials to be writing about the topic. Somewhere on the article, blog page, or website, there should be an “About the Author” summary. Before digesting the exercise information, take a moment to review the author’s education, certifications, and career history to determine if they are qualified to provide the advice you are seeking.
Author Conflicts of Interest
Remember the biased information we mentioned above? Well, the same applies here. Just as companies can pay for research provided about their product or service, they can also pay people to talk about their product or service. That said, even if an author is qualified to write on the topic, their advice could be biased. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine if an author is speaking genuinely or persuasively.
There are a couple of organizations that evaluate and certify the quality of websites that share health information. Health On The Net (HON) and Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) are two examples of such organizations. Site authors can request these organizations to evaluate their website content. If the content meets the criteria, HON or URAC allow the site owner to place the organization’s logo on their site to symbolize their certification. These certifications are primarily focused on health information. However, since health and exercise information often go hand in hand, it’s a good thing to watch for when researching online.
Testimonials can provide some assurance that the author of the exercise information you are reading is on track. It should be noted, however, that just as in everything we read online, testimonials should be consumed with a careful eye. The reason is that on many sites, the author/owner has the ability to choose what is posted and what is not. Nonetheless, reading through the testimonials can offer insight behind the credibility of the site and author.
After reading through all of that you’re probably wondering where the cut-and-dry explanation is to evaluate online exercise information. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. Instead, it takes effort on your part to evaluate the topics above mixed with a little bit of “gut feeling” to make a proper determination.
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