A single exercise session lasting for just 30 minutes can have an immediate positive effect on women who feel negative about their bodies, and make them feel strong and thinner, a study has found.
The results showed that compared to women who did not exercise, the women who undertook a 30-minute exercise session had significant improvements in their body image.
Further, the positive effect which lasted at least 20 minutes post-exercise led them to perceive themselves as more stronger and thinner.
“Women, in general, have a tendency to feel negatively about their bodies,” said Kathleen Martin Ginis, Professor at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan in Canada.
“This is a concern because poor body image can have harmful implications for a woman’s psychological and physical health including increased risk for low self-esteem, depression and for eating disorders. This study indicates exercise can have an immediate positive effect,” Ginis added.
For the study, published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, the team compared the body image and physical perceptions of women who completed 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise with those who sat and read.
“We all have those days when we don’t feel great about our bodies. This study shows one way to feel better is to get going and exercise. The effects can be immediate,” Ginis noted.
Further, the study may also act as a gateway for developing maximally effective body image-enhancing exercise interventions.
“We think that the feelings of strength and empowerment women achieve post exercise stimulate an improved internal dialogue,” Ginis said.
“This in turn should generate positive thoughts and feelings about their bodies which may replace the all too common negative ones,” she stated.