Are Fitness Videos Sabotaging Your Workout?

Photo (cc) by diametrik

Fitness videos can hamper your workout goals, new research shows.

A study published in the Sociology of Sport Journal found that fitness DVDs — a $250 million-per-year industry — contain demotivating images and words.

Lead study author Brad Cardinal, a kinesiology professor at Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, explains in an OSU news release:

“These findings raise concerns about the value of exercise DVDs in helping people develop and commit to a workout program.

There are a lot of exaggerated claims through the imagery and language of ‘do this and you’ll look like me.'”

For the study, researchers analyzed the imagery and language used in 10 popular commercial fitness DVDs led by instructors. Their goal was to better understand the visual and auditory messaging and how it might affect viewers.

The researchers’ main findings include:

  • Most instructors and models were slim, female, white and typically wore revealing attire. Cardinal says such imagery sends a subtle message about what fit people should look like, perpetuates objectification of the female body, and emphasizes physical appearance instead of improved health.
  • One-quarter of the language used by instructors was motivational, but 1 in 7 motivational statements was deemed negative (for example, “say hello to your sexy six-pack,” “you better be sweating,” “you should be dying right now”). Cardinal says such statements could reduce the effectiveness of the workout, diminish the viewer’s hope and potentially cause psychological harm.

In particular, these messages could be harmful for viewers who are relying on fitness DVDs to start a new workout routine or who are uncomfortable in a gym or fitness class setting, according to the research. The videos were marketed to novice exercisers, but the movement skills tended to be for intermediate to advanced levels of fitness while instructors taunted observers to keep up.

Cardinal explains:

“You’re inviting into your home these images and messages that could make you feel bad about yourself, and ultimately hinder your efforts to improve your health.

If the experience is not positive, the likelihood the person is going to continue with an exercise program diminishes.”

For help sticking to your fitness resolutions without relying on DVDs, check out:

How do you feel about fitness videos? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Have You Heard of This Best Place to Retire in 2020?
Have You Heard of This Best Place to Retire in 2020?

The best place to retire in America is one you likely are not familiar with.

These Are the 9 Best Benefits of Amazon Prime
These Are the 9 Best Benefits of Amazon Prime

These top-notch perks of an Amazon Prime membership won’t cost you a dime extra.

15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today
15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today

Times are tough, but these career fields are thriving.

5 Common Medical Expenses That Medicare Won’t Pay For
5 Common Medical Expenses That Medicare Won’t Pay For

Don’t let these health care costs catch you off guard in retirement.

This Grocery Store Is Cheaper Than Even Walmart
This Grocery Store Is Cheaper Than Even Walmart

One grocery chain is likely to save you more money than any other.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk
Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

A new study finds that wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don’t clean it properly.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.