STATES CHRONICLE – Have you ever though that fitness DVDs might not be doing a very good job at what they’re supposed to be doing? Well, scientists from the Oregon State University thought so, and they proved that fitness DVDs can do more harm than good.
Led by Dr. Brad Cardinal, professor of kinesiology at the Oregon State University, the study looked at the effects of fitness DVDs on the people who use them.
For this, the team of researchers looked at 10 contemporary, available for purchase, single instructor fitness DVDs in order to see how well they fare from a psychological point of view.
Dr. Cardinal and his team wanted to look at the DVDs and analyze several factors – the instructor’s as well as the model’s characteristics, the emergent relationship patterns, and last but not least the motivational content of the primary instructor.
The results were even worse than expected.
Most obvious was that the majority of the instructors in the videos were white females, thin, and wearing very revealing articles of clothing.
This sends an incorrect message about what being fit actually means, risking forming poor cognitions in the viewer, as well as perpetuating a sexist, objectifying message regarding women.
The second obvious things wrong with the fitness DVDs were the message and the language used in the videos.
With phrases like “you’re probably exhausted by now”, “welcome the new sexy you”, “you should be sweating already”, and a variety of taunts at the address of the viewer, no good things can come of them.
These kinds of phrases and taunts work to compel the viewer towards social comparison, instead of simple physical well-being.
Instead of focusing on improving the users’ view of themselves and thus motivate them to get fully engaged in the workout, all the DVDs do is to practice a sort of tough love that can lead to more harm than good.
Especially for people that use DVDs because they are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to go to the gym, having a DVD taunt you and send a wrong message about what you should be doing can be psychologically and physically devastating.
Published in the Sociology of Sport Journal, the research presents a very accurate analysis of most modern-day fitness DVDs, explaining in detail how they go about it all wrong.
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