Researchers have been studying the effects of physical activity and self-esteem for some time now, and the results are clear: the more we move, the better we feel about our abilities and ourselves.
You know that exercise makes you feel good both physically and mentally, but let’s explore the mental aspect of physical activity a bit deeper. Keep reading to learn which types of physical fitness have been shown to have the greatest effect on self-esteem, and then get out there and move your body!
One study from 2014 is particularly interesting when thinking about the link between physical activity and self-esteem. During the study, researchers observed the effects of aerobics exercise on self-esteem in Iranian female adolescents who had no family.
Sixty-six orphaned girls aged 13 – 19 years old were divided into two groups. One group completed aerobic exercises, such as running, and the other group (labeled the control group) did no aerobic exercise. According to the results of the study, the group that exercised showed increased self-esteem.
Try this experiment on yourself by adding regular aerobic activity into your routine and keep track of how you feel. You could even try keeping an exercise journal, and write down how running, biking, or other types of aerobic exercise make you feel about yourself.
Another study from 2014 found that of the more than 1,000 participants across a number of multiple studies all reported significant changes of positive impact on self-esteem. Researchers from the University of Essex discovered that it only took a mere five minutes of activity − such as walking, gardening, or cycling – to increase self-esteem and improve mood.
Aerobic exercise and getting outside aren’t the only ways to get the self-esteem and mood-boosting benefits of physical fitness. There are tons of other ways to move your body and feel good in the process:
Find a type of exercise you enjoy, and get moving. Once you’re done, you just might notice that your self-esteem is rising. It’s especially important that if you’re feeling down about yourself or you’re just a little blue in general that you try lifting your spirits with a workout.
Don’t forget to clear your new exercise regimen with your doctor prior to starting. Your doctor may even be able to give you tips on how much exercise to begin with so you feel better about yourself and your health continues to improve.