New Problem for Government to Save Us From: Fitness DVDs

As a person who lifts heavy and occasionally sprints, I despise the majority of exercise DVDs. But that doesn’t mean I think the government should save us from them. Yet that is what recent media stories have promoted. If only we had bureaucrats to tell us what the “settled science” is regarding how we should work out, and censoring anyone else, we would all be better off.

Thus, “Exercise DVDs May Actually Be Psychologically Harmful.”

Exercise DVDs are a mostly unregulated industry, and their safety and accuracy haven’t been scientifically proven—yet their promises of chiseled, bronzed bodies have us forking over $250 million for them every year. Not only do we not know whether they work, researchers at Oregon State University are going so far as to report that they could be both physically and psychologically unsafe. To arrive at that conclusion they reviewed 10 popular DVDs, and they write in the Sociology of Sport Journal that 26.9% of the words spoken during the fitness videos were motivational statements. Except one in seven of those so-called motivating statements were in fact “negative” in their view—i.e., “You should be dying right now” or “you better be sweating.”

As soon as the industry is more tightly regulated, all will be well. The government solved every problem.