How effective are exercise DVDs?
The multi-billion dollar exercise video industry is stronger than ever, thanks to millions of citizens around the world who want to get into better physical shape from the comfort of their homes. There are a plethora of DVDs to choose from. Collectively, they cover just about all body movements, exercise crazes, and equipment-based workouts the fitness industry has ever produced. Don't even get us started on "living room" exercise equipment you can have express-delivered to your door; that's a whole topic.
Physical fitness is definitely mainstream today, thanks in part to exercise DVDs. No wonder so many physical trainers and strength coaches are fast becoming household names worldwide. Exercise infomercials are commonplace on TV now, and your favourite sports retailers are increasingly carrying the latest and hottest offerings.
With the popularity of exercise videos, you'd think that society was getting fitter and fitter by the day. Unfortunately, things seem to be going in the opposite direction, with obesity and diabetes recently being declared a worldwide epidemic by the United Nations. So, what gives? Perhaps it's time to consider the suitability of the home exercise DVD.
Inevitably it's your time and money on the line, so you'll need to determine if exercise videos are the way to go. It will be a personal decision, because no two individuals have the same fitness goals and needs. Still, there are some universal pros and cons that hold true regardless of the DVD's actual content:
- Shortcut training method for people unable to hire a personal trainer or workout regularly at a gym (e.g. time-challenged travelling professionals, stay-at-home mums with young children). For those who can only afford thirty minutes or less per workout.
- Cost effective for people with the discipline to complete 30, 60, or 90-day programs (N.B. will need to build up a fitness video library to stay fresh and energized).
- Freedom to select best time of day for workouts.
- Hype-driven; disappointment leads to frustration with basic fitness and lifestyle goals.
- Not recommended for people easily bored and lacking motivation to keep pace with TV instructor, fitness models, etc.
- Lack of social interaction, camaraderie available at gyms and in group workouts.
At the very least, check out some YouTube video clips or Amazon.com reviews before committing to an exercise DVD. They should indicate whether the workouts are suitable for you, given your present physical condition. As always with any information from the Internet, use your judgement and consult with legitimate fitness professionals to verify assertions.
The home exercise market has matured in recent years, with some jurisdictions getting stricter about what fitness marketers can claim on their products. Most of the established brands have strong disclaimers, and usually demand specific levels of fitness before trying the product.
Unfortunately, there are still far too many companies who prey on vulnerable adults just to make a quick dollar. Most people are lazy by nature and the appeal of an easy 6-pack or weight loss while having fun is too strong. So make sure you understand yourself and why you might want to take up a DVD exercise program. Otherwise you will have a stack of them on your shelf, gathering dust.
When in doubt or if you have any pre-existing health issues, remember that your local physiotherapist is well-positioned to demonstrate and prescribe the best exercises for you.
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