Exercise can help people feel thinner and more attractive even if their bodies don’t visibly change. Women who reported feeling social anxiety related to their body’s appearance were assigned a regime of either strength training or aerobics. After two months, both groups demonstrated proved body satisfaction, despite scant change in size or shape; eespecially, the erobic exercisers. Aerobics may be more associated in women’s minds with weight loss and “a thinner ideal, even when the scale doesn’t say so,” says lead study author Kathleen A. Nartin Ginis, a professor of health and exercise psychology at McMaster University in Ontario.
Another study conducted in 1984 showed women who participated in an aerobic-exercise training program showed greater reduction in dression than did those who participated in relaxation training or in a no-treatment control condition (Holmes et al). Seems like aerobics may be the answer for feeling great about yourself.
Regular exercise or physical activity helps many of the body’s systems function better, keeps heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other diseases at bay, and is a key ingredient for losing weight. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, being physically active on a regular basis:
- Improves your chances of living longer and living healthier
- Helps protect you from developing heart disease and stroke or its precursors, high blood pressure and undesirable blood lipid patterns
- Helps protect you from developing certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer, and possibly lung and endometrial (uterine lining) cancer
- Helps prevent type 2 diabetes (what was once called adult-onset diabetes) and metabolic syndrome (a constellation of risk factors that increases the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes; read more about simple steps to prevent diabetes)
- Helps prevent the insidious loss of bone known as osteoporosis
- Reduces the risk of falling and improves cognitive function among older adults
- Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood
- Prevents weight gain, promotes weight loss (when combined with a lower-calorie diet), and helps keep weight off after weight loss
- Improves heart-lung and muscle fitness
- Improves sleep
Study: Aerobic Fitness and the Redponse to Psychological Stress
Allure – May 2015 Issue
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