According to a recent study which appeared in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, it only takes 30-minutes of exercise to make a woman feel stronger and thinner. The study also found that the positive effect lasts quite beyond the activity as well, which turns out to be a good news for the group of women who are much concerned about their body image. Martin Ginis sees this study as a gateway to developing maximally effective body image-enhancing exercise interventions.
Martin Ginis, along with Lauren Salci, compared the body image and physical perceptions of women who completed 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise with those who sat and read. Women in the exercise group had significant improvements in their body image compared to those who didn't exercise. This positive effect lasted at least 20 minutes post-exercise. The research team further established that this effect was not due to a change in the women's mood, rather it was linked to perceiving themselves as stronger and thinner.
"Women, in general, have a tendency to feel negatively about their bodies. 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." said senior author Kathleen Martin Ginis.
"We all have those days when we don't feel great about our bodies. This study and our previous research shows one way to feel better, is to get going and exercise. The effects can be immediate. We think that the feelings of strength and empowerment women achieve post exercise, stimulate an improved internal dialogue. This in turn should generate positive thoughts and feelings about their bodies which may replace the all too common negative ones." Added Kathleen Martin Ginis.