Exercise Improves Body Image - Even If You’re Unfit! [Study]

ken1If you don’t like the way your body looks, you’re certainly not alone. Surveys have found that about 60% of adults are unhappy with the way their body looks.

With body image issues being so widespread, exercise is often touted as one tool for treatment. But is this claim backed up by science? And is it only true for people who actually get into shape?

According to a University of Florida study, the act of exercise itself - regardless of whether or not you achieve your fitness goals - has a positive impact on body image. According to one researcher:

You would think that if you become more fit that you would experience greater improvements in terms of body image, but that’s not what we found.

In other words, even if you’re not receiving many physical benefits from exercise (i.e., lowering your body fat percentage, etc.), you still may be receiving important psychological benefits.

Interestingly, the only variable that made the body image boost stronger was frequency of exercise - and not the duration, intensity or type of exercise being performed.

The study also found larger improvements for older people than younger people, and a bigger boost for women than men. Still the gap between women and men wasn’t as large as researchers hypothesized; this may be attributed to the rise in body image issues among men. Indeed, body image issues know no gender.

The bottom line: Anyone can feel better about their body by engaging in any type of exercise on a regular basis. And with so many people dissatisfied with the way they look, exercise can be a powerful tool in helping to overcome a difficult issue - even if they don’t end up with that six pack.


About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I think it worth pointing out that for some people exercise can actually be detrimental to a healthy body image.

    I’ve known people who have a dysmorphic view of their body and exercise forms part of a wider set of symptoms of an eating disorder: as a way to ‘purge’ calories to avoid putting on weight. The drive and the desire to exercise is so powerful that it becomes all-consuming and imperative to exercise after any kind of meal. Definitely not healthy.

  2. i feel alot we need to learn starts within our self’s a positive mind is a good start if your wanting to shape the body , respect to you mate for your tips and your cute too x

  3. Hi, I thought this was a great blog. Thank you for posting.