A study report says that exercise DVDs may have negative psychological effect on users!

Home exercise DVDs are a favorite of fitness enthusiasts who want to cut down the costs of gym and save time. Come New Year and you are all set to start off with your “shed those extra pounds” resolution with a kick. Using exercise DVDs at home always seems like an excellent idea as it tends to save your time and money both. However, this packs with it a negative punch too. A recent study published in Sociology of Sport Journal has revealed that exercise DVDs are full of negative imagery, demotivating language and may even result in viewers wanting to exercise less.


1 Unrealistic body images set negative benchmarks

The recent study that took into consideration 10 of the most popular commercial DVDs, found that those DVDs were perpetuating imagery that reinforced hyper-sexualised and unrealistic body images. It is seen that most of the models and instructors present in the exercise DVDs were female and white and beautifully slim. Plus they usually wear revealing attire. All this specifically encourages the female body objectification and emphasizes more on physical appearance instead of improved health. Moreover, it sets negative benchmarks in the mind of an individual as to how a fit person should look like.

With such DVDs, people are inviting negative images and messages to their homes and such a thing is deemed to make one feel bad about themselves and ultimately lead to negative health effects, both physically as well as mentally. Such a negative experience is likely to cause a person to discontinue with the fitness plan resulting in more negative vibes.

Unrealistic body images set negative benchmarks

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2 The so called “motivational” language has a negative inclination

It is also seen that the so called “motivational” language used by instructors in home fitness DVDs often contain negative phrases that encourage negative comparison, focus on results and fail to take into consideration individual differences in fitness or health. In fact, 1 in every 7 motivational statements blurted out on such DVDs are found to be negative.

The so called “motivational” language has a negative inclination

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Some of the negative motivational statements found commonly in home exercise DVDs are the following:

  • “You better be sweating”
  • “Say hello to your sexy six pack”
  • “You should be dying right now”

Such phrases and strategies can not only lead to negative psychological outcomes but can also cause other unfavourable health effects. This is mainly because all exercises may not be suitable for all types of users and this is where the real danger lies.

3 Instructors usually have unsatisfactory credentials

Researchers are of the view that more in-depth study is needed on the commercial fitness DVDs as they come with a host of disadvantages. Along with the language and imagery used in these videos their safety and effectiveness is also a matter of major concern. In addition to these, it is found that most of the instructors who appear in these videos usually possess little or no qualifications in fitness instruction.


The exercises shown on these videos are usually targeted to novice exercisers, however, most of the movements shown are designed for the intermediate levels or advanced levels of fitness. The taunting messages of the instructor sometimes force the user to overdo the movements to the level of hurting themselves.

Instructors usually have unsatisfactory credentials

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4 Home fitness videos fail to impart discipline

Usually it is seen that with the lack of a real trainer, users relying on fitness DVDs after some point of time fail to continue with their regime as there is lack of discipline. The absence of someone to check out on your progress usually leads to skipping of sessions with unsatisfactory results in the long run.

Home fitness videos fail to impart discipline

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5 User discretion is important

Exercise DVDs are an industry worth $250 million and it is highly unregulated. It may be a good idea to opt for using these DVDs for working out at home but is very essential that viewers remain careful and use them intelligently. You should aim for staying fit but do not aim at achieving the bodies of the super slim models and hunky instructors that display the abs and flaunt their figures on the videos. While it is a good thing to be slim and fit, you should remember that different individuals have different body styles and shapes and different bodies respond differently to various exercise methods. Thus, it is foolish to expect the same results that you see on these DVDs. Never try to compare yourself with those appearing on those videos.

 User discretion is important

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So, if you really want to continue with that exercise DVD you just bought, follow it with discretion and incorporate your workout session with other effective ways of staying fit like jogging, running, cycling or swimming.


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