August 24, 2000
Internet health sites can help you setor meet fitness goals.
Attention mouse potatoes: There is more to physical activity online than the baseball scores at www.ESPN.comIn fact, there are a host of sites devoted to fitness, providing health advice, exercise tipsand even some interactive options that help you plan and optimize your workouts. As with allthings online, what you find depends on what you are looking for.
For those unsure about whether to start a fitness program, most fitness Web sites have toolscalled calculators, which can approximate a user's ideal weight, body fat and caloric intake.Just enter some basic information (age, height, weight, waist size, etc.) and the online calculatorwill tell you, basically, whether other people with numbers like yours tend to be healthy or need some more exercise. Of course, only a doctor can tell you what you should do for your body, but these calculators and the Web sites below can point you in the right direction.
Magazine-style Web sites like Phys and OnHealth offer the kind of health and fitness articles you might find on the newsstand. With features like "Healthy Horoscopes," "Summer Shape Up," sweepstakes and polls, Phys (www.phys.com is the most entertaining ofthe fitness sites and, not surprisingly, provides links to affiliated magazines like Vogue and Glamour. OnHealth.com, which operates as part of WebMD, has more in the way of medical advice, with food, fitness and alternative medicine columnists, along with daily health-related "chats."
Already involved in a fitness program or ready to get serious about your workout? FitnessLink (www.fitnesslink.com) is an inspirational mix of health advice and workout tips, with features like an Exercise Encyclopedia to help focus your exercise routine to suit your goals. Both FitnessLink and a similar site called FitLinxx (www.fitlinxx.com) offer real personalized fitness data. Join one of these sites (they're free) and enter your workout information, such as the amount of weight lifted or number of situps. Your Workout Notebook will keep track of your fitness goals and how close you are to reaching them. The FitLinxx site also has fun stuff like the number of ice-cream cones you have worked off, along with charts and graphs of your progress.
There are even Jewish fitness sites. Jewish Health (www.jewishfamily.com/lifestyles_health.html) presents mostly health advice for parents, but also offers helpful information on topics like the mental health benefits of Jewish rituals and diseases for which Jews are at increased risk. To really get in shape in a Jewish way,the online Jewish bookstore Sefer Safari contains a link to a Jewish fitness program called Chai-Bo ("Wearing sneakersand loose fitting workout apparel, face east towards Jerusalem..."). The Israeli martial art fitness program Krav Maga has its own extensive Web site, where for a fee users with fast connections can watch live and archived Krav Maga classes and chat with a virtual trainer.
This is only a surface-scratching look at the fitness options available on the Internet. Whatever your goals for improving your health, there is probably a Web site that can help you reachthem. So get off your tush and go surfing.