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Study Says Just One Workout Could Improve Your Body Image

fb-beyonce-strut-promo.gif Ever noticed how you feel like a totally fit badass after a workout, even if you felt kind of "meh" going into it? Well according to a new study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, this phenomenon is actually a real, measurable thing. Working out really can make you feel better about your body—and it only takes a matter of minutes. Awesome, right? (It's a good thing there are ways to combat body image issues, since it looks like they start way younger than we thought.)

In the study, young women with preexisting body image concerns who also hit the gym regularly were assigned randomly to either work out at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes, or to sit and read quietly. The researchers measured how the women felt about their bodies in the moment before whichever activity they were assigned as well as afterwards. People were asked to consider how they felt about their body fat as well as their strength, ensuring that the measure of body image used in the study wasn't only tied to appearances. After all, what your body can *do* is pretty important too.

The women who exercised felt both stronger and thinner after sweating it out for 30 minutes. Overall, their perception of their body image was improved post-workout. Not only did the image-boosting effects happen immediately, but they also lasted for 20 minutes at the very least. Reading didn't have much of an effect.

"We all have those days when we don't feel great about our bodies," said Kathleen Martin Ginis, Ph.D., lead author on the study, in a press release. "This study and our previous research shows one way to feel better is to get going and exercise."

Basically, this study shows that just one workout can make a difference in how you feel about yourself, which might be *just* the motivation you need to hit the gym instead of hanging on the couch. In fact, these findings are the perfect reason to squeeze in a quick sweat session if you're in need of a self-esteem boost or want to keep your confidence high. While nothing's guaranteed, chances are you'll walk out of the studio feeling better about your body than when you walked in. (And if that doesn't do the trick, you can always try the empowering mantra Ashley Graham uses to feel like a badass.)

 

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