Why Body Image Matters
Everywhere you look today you’re bombarded with images of beautiful people with “perfect” bodies. While this used to be limited to what was on television and in magazines, the digital age has completely changed the body image game — and not for the better. From social media to selfies, the appearance imperative has never been stronger or more omnipresent.
But it’s not just the media that’s to blame. Also playing a role in poor body image is your mirror! Explains Psychology Today, “When we habitually look in the mirror to check and adjust how we look on the outside, we can also get in the habit of ignoring how we’re actually feeling on the inside…We begin to see ourselves as things when we look in the mirror — instead of as real people.” Do not let yourself fall into that mental trap. Remember that you are so much more than an object in a mirror!
Why does body image matter so much anyway? University of Florida exercise psychologist and co-author Heather Hausenblas, co-author of the study, “Effects of Exercise Interventions on Body Image,” published in the Journal of Health Psychology, notes:
“Body dissatisfaction is a huge problem in our society and is related to all sorts of negative behavior including yo-yo dieting, smoking, taking steroids and undergoing cosmetic surgery. It affects men and women and all ages, starting with kids who are as young as five years old saying they don’t like how their bodies look.”
Embracing Better Body Image
With the media’s representation of near-impossible standard of beauty, it’s easy to get caught up in the false expectation that reaching a particular weight loss or exercise goal will lead to satisfaction. As it turns out, however, this is not the case. In fact, Hausenblas and her team determined that attaining fitness-related milestones actually has no impact on body image. However, something else does: the mere act of exercising. (To start exercising today, sign up for a trial pass.)
Explained Hausenblas, “You would think that if you become more fit that you would experience greater improvements in terms of body image, but that’s not what we found. It may be that the requirements to receive the psychological benefits of exercise, including those relating to body image, differ substantially from the physical benefits.”
The overall takeaway for those looking to enjoy better comprehensive health through better body image? As McMaster University kinesiology professor Kathleen Martin Ginis told UF News:
“This is an important study because it shows that doing virtually any type of exercise, on a regular basis, can help people feel better about their bodies. With such a large segment of the population dissatisfied with their physiques, it’s encouraging to know that even short, frequent bouts of lower intensity exercise can improve body image.”
The truth is that the “perfect body” does not exist. While exercising helps you get a better body, following a fitness plan can do something even more important than that: It can make you feel better — not just about your body, but about yourself as a person. For a jumpstart on both, download our ebook, “4 Weeks to a Better Body,” today.After you read all the great information found there, you can put it all to use by signing up for a personal trainer session.