The Effects of Exercise on Self-Esteem


How often do we hear, “Get a workout, it will make you feel better.”?

Exercise For Life – For Your Good Health

Exercise is a very broad spectrum of activities; it can be walking, hiking, bicycling, running or any one of a number of sports.  It can also be moving along to a video that has choreographed moves geared toward a traditional exercise routine, or dancing, or Yoga and Pilates.  It could also be going to a gym and lifting weights or using the cardio equipment.

People often say you always feel better after a workout, or, if you can get some exercise in, you would feel so much better.  Is this truly the case?  How can causing your muscles to work and be sore actually help you emotionally?  Some studies that support a connection between exercise and positive self-esteem are: Physical Fitness and Enhanced Psychological Health; Associations Between Physical Activity and Reduced Rates of Hopelessness, Depression and Suicidal Behavior Among College Students; and The Relationships Among Self-Esteem, Exercise and Self-Rated Health in Older Women.

Each study shows slightly different statistics, but come to a similar conclusion.  This would be that physical activity does help a person have an increase in self-esteem, be it through the lessening of depression symptoms, or having the ability to perceive one’s self as healthy and high functioning in older age or simply by an elevation in a person’s mood, which gives that person the chance to understand that things are better than they seemed an hour ago.  All of these things apply to a person’s self-esteem in one way or another and these studies show that exercise helps to put a positive spin on each of them.

I feel that more studies will confirm that exercise or physical activity will help increase traits in a person’s self-esteem.

References

Plante, T., & Rodin, J. (1990).  Physical fitness and enhanced psychological health.  Current Psychology,9(1), 3. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. (Document ID: 9701290177)

Misra, R., Alexy, B., & Panigrahi, B.. (1996). The relationships among self-esteem, exercise, and self-rated health in older women. Journal of Women & Aging, 8(1), 81.  Retrieved December 30, 2009, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 9825352).

Taliaferro, L., Rienzo, B., Pigg, R., Miller, M., & Dodd, V.. (2009). Associations Between Physical Activity and Reduced Rates of Hopelessness, Depression, and Suicidal Behavior Among College Students. Journal of American College Health, 57(4), 427-36.  Retrieved February 7, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 1623326411).

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