There are days we feel great in our own skin… and others, well, not so much. There’s more evidence that exercise can have a positive impact on our mental health. A study on women and exercise found working out can help boost body image!
Researchers from McMaster University in Canada studied 60 college-aged women with pre-existing body image concerns. They already exercised regularly. The women were assigned to either perform 30-minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise or to read quietly. The purpose of the study was to find out if exercise could improve body image and how long the positive body image lasts after exercise.
Researchers found exercise improved body image through “self-perceptions of body fat and strength.” The improved body image perceptions lasted at least 20 minutes after exercise.
Researchers report this was the first of its kind and that the results have “important practical and theoretical implications.”
This adds to an already long list of mental health benefits from exercise. The Mayo Clinic reports exercise can help reduce depression and anxiety by:
- Releasing feel-good brain chemicals
- Reducing immune system chemicals (which can worsen depression)
- Increasing body temperature (providing possible calming effects)
The Mayo Clinic says other mental health benefits include:
- Increased confidence
- Healthy distraction
- Social interaction
- Healthy coping mechanism
There’s no time like the present to adopt a ‘no excuses’ mentality to improve both mind and body!