With the large amount of misleading and incorrect information surrounding physical activity available online, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is becoming increasingly concerned about the quality and accuracy of information available to everyday Aussies.
An online survey of over 250 Australians conducted by ESSA found that a staggering 47 per cent were getting their exercise information from the internet, and 30 per cent from social platforms such as TV, Instagram, blogs and celebrity pages. Some responses noted that having a degree doesn't make you an expert, whilst others don't seek any advice at all.
'Although it's encouraging to see Australians wanting to improve their physical health, it's concerning that almost half of survey respondents are not seeking advice from an industry professional," says ESSA Chief Executive Officer, Anita Hobson-Powell. 'There is a lot of false information available online, and it could be extremely dangerous for someone to start an exercise plan without first consulting a qualified exercise expert."
Results did indicate that 82 per cent of Australians did trust an appropriately qualified exercise professional with a 3+ year university qualification to provide them with exercise advice. However, the remaining 18 per cent still preferred to trust either family or friends, those who had only completed a short course, or considered all options to be of equal level.
'Whilst 82 per cent is a great figure, we want all Australians to be educated on who the real exercise experts are. It is a significant concern if someone is receiving advice from a person who is not appropriately qualified to do so and that hasn't completed a relevant exercise and sports science degree," explains Ms Hobson-Powell.
ESSA's newest campaign, Everyone's an Expert – Ask a Real One, aims to bust these exercise myths and overcome the common barriers associated with physical education. Expert content will be made available for the Australian public from ESSA accredited exercise professionals such as Accredited Exercise Scientists (AES), Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) and Accredited Sports Scientists (ASpS).
'This campaign will provide Australians with professional advice on physical activity, as well as educate them on the benefits of seeing an AES, AEP or ASpS. Accredited exercise professionals specialise in the design, implementation and evaluation of exercise and physical activity for people and this is what makes them the real experts of exercise."