The simple act of exercising and not fitness itself can convince you that you look better, says a new study. People who don’t achieve workout milestones such as losing fat or gaining strength feel just as good about their bodies as their more athletic counterparts, says Heather Hausenblas, University of Florida (U-F) exercise psychologist.
“You would think that if you become more fit then you would experience greater improvements in terms of body image, but that’s not what we found,” she adds. Negative body image has grown to almost epidemic proportions in the past 20 years, with as many as 60 percent of adults in national studies saying they don’t like the way their bodies look, Hausenblas says.
Americans spend billions of dollars a year for products designed to change their body size and shape, including diet pills and various cosmetic procedures, she says.
The study found no difference in body image improvement between people who met the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines by exercising at least 30 minutes a day five days a week and those who did not, according to a release.