People have always been conscious of how their bodies look and what people think of their physique. But this obsession with body image is now at an all-time high. The idea of the perfect body keeps changing depending on what is trending or which celebrities are rocking it best. While women are more prone to developing a negative perception of their bodies, men are not left out.
Body image is a multifaceted concept that refers to how we feel, act and think about our physical appearance. People with a negative body image consider themselves unattractive, too thin, overweight, or not buff enough. As a result, these individuals tend to experience mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, stress, and eating disorders.
The better you feel about yourself, the happier you become. One of the ways to improve body image is through strength training. Although research concerning the effects of strength training on mental health is still in the early stages, there have been promising results. Studies have shown that strength training is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression in individuals. Given the level of damage that this can have on our social, physical and mental health, it is vital to look for ways to improve body image.
Improving the way you look can take some time, but it is worth it. Taking care of yourself by eating healthy and exercising becomes easier every day, which translates to feeling better about yourself.
Here are five ways that strength training can improve your body image.
Improves self esteem
With well-planned strength training, you will increase your muscle mass. When you build muscle mass, you are more likely to look fitter with a better body tone. Even though you do not meet the image standards as popularised by media, you will feel better with the improvements you make and feel better about yourself.
Gives you autonomy
When you start lifting weights and gaining muscle mass, you begin to feel empowered and in control. Having this sense of autonomy is essential to feeling good and improving your body image. Your performance in the gym and the progress you make will become your anchor point. And you will see your body image in a positive light.
Improves your physical capacity
Once you understand that your physical capacity is more important than your physical appearance, you begin to look at your self-worth positively. Lifting weights can make you feel strong and improve your sense of ability and movement. As soon as you start lifting weights, your mindset will change based on how much weight you can lift in the gym. As for poor body image in women, strength training programmes targeted at physical function may be most effective.
Regular strength training reduces the risk of injuries in your daily life or during sporting activities. Injuries negatively affect us by reducing our success rate in tasks, lowering moods, feelings of vulnerability, feeling defenceless, and increasing body fat due to inactivity.
Increases social engagement
Spending too much time alone can reinforce your poor body image. Sometimes you are not enthusiastic about going out because you worry about what people will think about your body. One of the ways to battle a poor body image is by going to the gym and socialising. When you start lifting weights and engage in different training programmes, you become a regular at your gym and may start making friends there. Gym is one of the places you can potentially socialise. You will get the encouragement you need from trainers and meet real people who struggle with poor body image.
Changing your body image to a positive one may take some time, but with the right type of nutrition and strength training program, you can be on your way to looking your best.