Most HERS can probably agree that working out makes you look and feel incredible—or, at the very least, the changes in your body make you feel confident and motivated. Even if hitting the gym isn’t your favorite thing in the world, seeing the progress that your body makes long-term is priceless. A study done at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus looked at the way women feel post-workout, and researchers found an even more immediate positive effect of a quick workout: a serious self-esteem boost.
Study author Kathleen Martin Ginis compared the way women who worked out for 30 minutes saw themselves in comparison to women who sat and read for 30 minutes. The women who exercised had a significant improvement in their body image compared to the women who were sedentary. This effect lasted more than 20 minutes after the workout, and researchers found that women perceived themselves as thinner and stronger not as a result of a mood change, but because they saw themselves as stronger and more powerful after working out.
“We all have those days when we don’t feel great about our bodies,” Martin Ginis said in a press release. “This study and our previous research shows one way to feel better is to get going and exercise. The effects can be immediate.”
The empowering feeling that women get from exercise makes it easier to replace the negative thoughts women often have about their bodies with positive ones, according to Martin Ginis.
“We think that the feelings of strength and empowerment women achieve post-exercise stimulate an improved internal dialogue,” Martin Ginis said. “This in turn should generate positive thoughts and feelings about their bodies which may replace the all too common negative ones.”