mental health
BY: LBL Team

How Does Exercise Affect Self Esteem?

Improve Self-esteem With Exercise

It’s safe to assume that sitting in front of the TV all day doesn’t do much for your physical health or self-image. In fact, leading a sedentary lifestyle does little to increase your sense of well-being or self-esteem. On the other hand, regular exercise has been shown to boost self-confidence.

Physical Exercise improves body image

Exercising regularly is often linked to an improved body image. It also increases positive feelings, reduces stress and anxiety, and lowers your risk of certain diseases. Just the mere act of creating an exercise plan and sticking to it allows you to enjoy a sense of accomplishment.

Studies demonstrate that exercising as little as two days a week can make you happier and less prone to stress. Thirty minutes of exercise is enough to release beta-endorphins that increase feelings of well-being. The psychological benefits of physical activity tend to last longer after moderate exercise than after high-intensity exercise.

Not all exercise is created equal

Moderate exercise has been discovered to be more effective in boosting self-esteem and well-being than high-intensity exercise. In addition to engaging in cardio exercise three-to-five times a week, you should also do strength-training and toning exercises, such as yoga.

Yoga has been proven to decrease tension, anxiety, depression, and irritability, improving overall wellbeing. Practicing yoga lowers levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which are stress hormones, and stimulates the prefrontal cortex that controls happiness levels, leading to higher self-confidence. Yoga also improves self-esteem by:

  • Teaching you how to self-calm, which helps restore self-esteem.
  • Showing you how to achieve success. Mastering yoga poses takes practice and patience, showing you that you need to take small steps to master something.
  • Teaching you how to feel good in your skin. This is because yoga highlights that everyone is different and has unique gifts.
  • Increasing a sense of community. Taking a yoga class allows you to meet other people, reducing isolation and boosting your self-confidence.

In a nutshell, exercise does affect self-esteem positively. Engaging in regular moderate exercise combined with yoga will boost self-confidence, increase feelings of wellbeing, and diminish stress and anxiety. It’s time to get on that elliptical!

  1. “4 Ways Yoga Can Help You Combat Anxiety and Build Self-Confidence,” Yoga Today, n.d.
  2. “How Does Exercise Affect Your Self-Esteem?,” Livestrong, June 3, 2019.
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