Why Exercise DVDs May Do More Harm Than Good

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At the beginning of every year, before spring break and at the start of bathing suit season, exercise DVDs begin flying off the shelves as people look for a great way to get in shape at home, meet their exercise goals and avoid having to go to the gym. The idea of using these videos seems like a fantastic idea to provide yourself with guidance so that you can complete a workout properly, learn the various exercises that you should be doing and save yourself the money and time of having to hire a personal trainer or head out to the gym several times per week.


However, recent research has been suggesting that exercise DVDs may not be as good for you as you may think. In fact, depending on which ones you choose, they may cause you more harm than good. The main issue is that a very large percentage of them include negative imagery and use language that actually results in reducing motivation instead of building it.


Therefore, when people buy exercise DVDs as a part of their New Year’s resolutions or their hopes to get into better shape in time for the summer, using these videos might end up sending them backward from their current fitness level instead of forward.


A recent study published in the Sociology of Sport Journal and that was conducted by College of Publish Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University kinesiology professor, Brad Cardinal, Ph.D., looked into ten of the most popular commercial exercise videos. What the research concluded was that these videos are potentially reinforcing and perpetuating body images that are unrealistic and hyper-sexualized.


Furthermore, the researchers in Cardinal’s team also found that one out of every seven statements on the videos that were supposed to be motivational were actually de-motivating, which could lead to a reduction in the workout’s efficacy, decrease the belief of the user that he or she can reach his or her goals and even potentially cause psychological harm.


As a result of the study’s findings, the researchers believe that the value of these videos should be called into question, particularly when it comes to encouraging people to be able to find the right workout for them and to encourage them to commit to it. They suggested that the language, style and even the claims of the videos can be misleading, saying that many of the promises are “exaggerated” and that the imagery and language leads people to believe that if they simply follow the video and they’ll look like the person on the cover – which is not always the case.