Body image is the mental picture you have of yourself and it is formed by a variety of factors. An individual’s body image may or may not be an accurate representation of themselves, so working toward a positive body image is important for overall health and wellbeing. Build your body image with these tips:
- Dial-in to inner dialogue! We all have self-dialogue; those private “thought tapes” we run through our head all day long. Make an effort to put negative thoughts into perspective, and work to turn them into positive messages.
- Pump some iron. A recent study from Cornell University suggests that strength training trumps aerobic exercise for boosting body image. Just two weekly sessions can support a healthier outlook and propel other healthy behaviors.
- Focus on Function. Whether it be food or fitness, your motivation for making healthy decisions should be focused on supporting the vast array of functions your body provides. Working out to reduce stress or improve your mile time, and eating to boost energy are healthy motivations compared to simply doing so solely for appearance.
Remember, a positive body image is one that includes self-acceptance and appreciation for your body. It fosters happiness and makes us less likely to fall into critical mindsets based on unrealistic media and pressure. Start steering yourself in a positive direction today!
- Seguin, R. A., Eldridge, G., Lynch, W., & Paul, L. C. (2013). Strength Training Improves Body Image and Physical Activity Behaviors Among Midlife and Older Rural Women. Journal of Extension, 51(4), 4FEA2.