Losing weight is almost on everybody’s New Year’s resolutions, and most of the time it can be found right on top of that long list. Nowadays, more and more stars release fitness tapes and show incredible body transformations, going from extremely fat to the hottest person in the area. If you are thinking about trying one of those videos this year, think more. A new study warns us that fitness DVDs can lead to poor body image.
The study done by a team of researchers from the Oregon State University used 10 famous fitness DVDs and discovered that the people in the videos gave unrealistic body goals to the people who watched them. Also, the images were extremely sexualized.
The researchers focused on two things when they analyzed the exercising videos. They looked at the images and at the message that were transmitted. Most of the instructors were found to be white and slim women. They also showed a lot of skin, sending a clear message that that is how fit people should look like.
Even though the message transmitted by the instructors was a motivational one, one out of seven statements were negative. Brad Cardinal from the Oregon State University said that those kinds of statements push people towards comparisons and focus too much on quick outcomes. The phrases of the kind don’t consider the fact that people have different weight and health problems. The tough love strategy isn’t the best one in this case, as people can push themselves too much and injure themselves.
Also, these messages can be harmful to people’s emotions, as usually the people who choose this kind of exercising are the ones that feel uncomfortable about going to the gym. Even though they were labeled as exercising for beginners, most of the DVDs proved to be more suited to people who reached advanced or intermediate fitness levels.
According to the researchers, these types of DVDs don’t focus that much on an improved health, but more on the physical appearance. Most of the times, these videos could end up hurting your feelings and your self-esteem. As more and more videos of the kind are launched every day, people should be made more aware of their negative effects. Today, the fitness DVDs have made it into a $250 million industry.
The study which discovered that fitness DVDs can lead to poor body image was published in the Sociology of Sport Journal.
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