Health, Fitness, TV and you

I was just watching a Zumba ad on TV advertising their latest release and remembered a client telling me about ACC related Zumba claims.  Just had a wee look for the stats; 875 claims in 2010 and 781 claims in 2011.  The majority of these claims were around soft tissue damage to the knee.

Now, I've done Zumba, and I like it, but I DID find it very hard on my knees.  I also discovered, that if you have very limited hip mobility then the strain on the knee is a lot greater.  From an anatomical perspective, if the hips don't move easily (the Femoral head in the Acetabulum), then the next joints in the chain will try and take the movement, this includes the knee and the SI joint, and also the spine.  These joints, in such dance movements are supposed to take movement, but not the entire movement of the hip while the hip stays locked.

The point is coming soon, but before we get to it, some more background. 

A client yesterday was explaining to me how guilty she feels when she sees an ad on TV for weight loss programs saying (in her words) that she "should" lose x amount of kg for summer.  This beautiful lady, was being swayed by the powerful marketing messages on TV. The similarity between this and Zumba is marketing.  Zumba is marketed as fun and great for all fitness levels, and weight loss programs on TV are marketed as the answer to your problems.  But here's the issue, not everyone will benefit by undertaking these programs, but the ads won't tell you that and there is no education helping people critically assess an advertisement. I couldn't do Zumba until my hips rotated properly, I know this, therefore a Zumba ad won't entice me, regardless of how much I like Zumba and how much I know Zumba is a fun and energising workout.

My first degree was in Advertising and I'm a former ad copywriter.  I'm not claiming to be a guru, but I did learn a thing or two about advertising over the 4 years I studied it. Advertisers know your demographics and your psychographics.  They know how to push your buttons and make you feel [guilty, fat, smelly...etc], once they've evoked that feeling, they hit you with the "solution".  So, my client felt fat and useless and is always questioning which is the "right" program for her.  Guess what, no program is right for her, she is actually experiencing some health issues that are affecting her ability to exercise consistently, and they are affecting her hormonal health.  She has a kidney issue so the high protein trend isn't suitable for her. 

In other words, the ads aimed to make her buy, could, in fact make her very sick. Similarly, the ads enticing me to buy the latest Zumba release, could see me off work with a knee injury. We MUST be more savvy when watching TV. 

I swilled coffee, drank alcohol, partied and indulged in mind altering substances while I was a copywriter, I'm not saying all copywriters do, but I'll tell you this, it's a fairly fun, social job.  Marketing departments and ad agencies don't give 2 shits about your health, they are there for one reason - to sell to you.  They have the psychological tools to get into your head and make you feel like you need the product.  Here's one lovely little acronym we used to use - FOMO's.  This is the classification for the psychographic group of people who have a Fear Of Missing Out.  Your fear of missing out will be played upon to make you buy, regardless of whether the product IS actually suitable for you or not.  

Be critical when watching ads, ask for second opinions if you feel yourself reaching for the "buy now" section in your head. Of course some of these products are great, so don't avoid buying...just do what is right for your body, and if you are unsure...ask an objective and educated person.  It's YOUR health, YOUR fitness and YOUR feelings.  You own them, don't hand your control away to the people talking at you inside the TV.