Skepticism and Social Media
Social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, are popular and easily accessible sources for news, information, jokes and opinions. As these platforms have matured, they have been embraced by members of the fitness and healthcare industries for the purpose of marketing and advertising. When used properly, it can be a fantastic way to get a unique message to a target audience . Unfortunately, the popularity of these platforms has also created an environment where one’s qualifications are based on their popularity rather than being based on merit..
Sex sells. More often than not, catchy quotes and complicated movements will earn a larger following, which translates to a higher status. Patients, athletes and weekend warriors are always looking to gain a competitive advantage or improve efficiency. Wouldn’t it be great to guarantee you will never pull another muscle? Who doesn’t want to prevent concussions? The only problem is that these results are impossible. These misleading claims are often believed and then spread to others as fact. While the “sex” continues to sell, the boring posts based on experience, science and/or reasonable deductions fail to get noticed.
Lebron James is one of the greatest athletes of our lifetime. He recently strained a muscle keeping him to miss much of the season. Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes to ever live. Yet, he suffered a hamstring tear playing in a game last week. Injuries are unavoidable. We can mitigate the risk of injury through training mobility, strength and control, but we cannot eliminiate the risk. Despite popular opinion, health and performance are not always correlated.
We always encourage our patients, and clients, to train hard and to train smart. We also like to caution them to be weary of the information they are given. When in doubt, use your healthcare and/or fitness professional as a resource.
-Brendan Clarke, PT, DPT, CAMT, CSCS