Everyone carries around a body image. Because we are thinking and feeling creatures, we reflect on and worry about the image we are communicating to others by our presence in the world. Most people want to project an attractive persona, but making peace with your body image is a difficult quest. So how’s your self-image these days? Are you feeling confident, or could your self-esteem use a boost?
If you’re looking for a way to increase your self-confidence, especially in regard to your body image, maybe you should consider the many benefits of physical exercise. Did you know that the most powerful, magical effect of regular exercise is that it boosts your self-image? Getting a workout is a direct route to "feel good about me." The amazing thing is that it’s the exercise itself – and not necessarily the resulting improved fitness – that makes us feel better. So scheduling 30 minutes a day to walk or play a sport or do some Pilates is at least as much about giving our mood a lift as it is about building muscles.
It’s important to be consistent with exercise in order to gain the psychological benefits, but it doesn’t really matter what type of workout you do, or its intensity or duration. That means improved self-image will be the result even if the exercise is moderate. Whether or not you’re overweight, exercise is crucial to women's wellness. According to the Mayo Clinic, being active boosts “good” cholesterol and decreases unwanted triglycerides. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and helps prevent a host of other health concerns as well.
Exercise opens you up to the free flow of oxygen and nutrients to tissues and organs. With increased oxygen, your body takes on an overall feeling of well-being. It’s a fact that too many of us have negative body images. Because of poor self-esteem, health problems ensue, such as dangerous yo-yo dieting, smoking, drug use, and cosmetic surgeries.
Poor self-image is rampant especially among women, who compare their bodies to the unnaturally svelte figures of advertising and other media. But men, as well, are subject to fears and worries about their bodies. These perceptions can lead to a range of unhealthy lifestyles.
A Little Goes a Long Way
According to recent studies, even a small amount of exercise will improve self-image. It’s not so much a matter of how much more fit you are becoming; the greatest thrill is that your self-image improves and so does your general outlook on life. It has been proven, even, that regular exercise improves sexual function in older people, with men reporting less difficulty with erectile dysfunction and women noticing enhanced sexual arousal.
Apparently, it is critical that the exercise be regular. While you may feel great after the occasional excursion to the park, if you make it a daily occurrence you’ll not only feel great, but you’ll recognize improved self-confidence and optimism overall. Is 30 minutes a day more than you can handle? Do five minutes, then; or ten. Whatever amount of exercise you do will give your self-image a boost.
Be careful, though. You are likely to fall in love with your physically active self. Those five minutes will quickly become 20. Having a healthy self-image is just a fabulous place to be.