New research shows workout videos may be harmful

Researchers at Oregon State University found that exercise DVDs may actually be de-motivational and psychologically harmful.

The lead author on the study, kinesiology professor Brad Cardinal, says that the fitness DVD industry is largely unregulated and there is no scientific evidence that the videos are safe, effective, or even accurate.

The study shows that the videos may be perpetuating and reinforcing hyper-sexualized, unrealistic body images. In addition, researchers found that one in every seven motivational statements on the DVDs was actually a demotivating statement that could reduce the effectiveness of the workout, diminish the user’s hope and potentially cause psychological harm (College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University).

Negative statements like, “you should be dying right now,” focus on outcomes, encourage social comparison, and don’t take into account individual differences in health or fitness, Cardinal said.

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