Let Nature Be Your Body Image AllyMar 10, 2023
Did you know that a walk outside can boost your body image? Considering that 80% of menopausal women report being dissatisfied with their bodies, finding strategies to improve body image has become one of the topics I focus on the most. Exercise, in general is a helpful tool for improving physical and mental wellness, but going outdoors can potentially alter body image and self-esteem even more. Research shows that being outside is associated with a more positive body image, improved physiological health, decreased blood pressure, enhanced immune system resources, and reduced stress.
Studies on the effects of outdoor exercise on body image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women showed that those who participated in outdoor exercise had higher self-esteem and body satisfaction than those who did not. In addition, outdoor exercise was found to be more beneficial than indoor exercise regarding body image and self-esteem, showing that walking outdoors was associated with improved mood, but walking indoors was not. The data gathered showed that, compared to those who exercised indoors, those who exercised outdoors had higher levels of body satisfaction, increased enjoyment of physical activity, and improved body image perception. Being in nature has been shown to improve cognitive functioning, lower rates of depression and anxiety, higher self-esteem, subjective vitality, quality of sleep, and happiness. And that doesn’t even mean that you have to exercise. The mere exposure to nature and the outdoors has positive benefits. One factor from that last sentence is the fact that enjoyment also increased in these studies. Especially in a world where many of us are stuck to our desks for our jobs, going outside for movement is inherently more fun than going back into another building to exercise. I love going to the gym and working out, but you’ll never be able to snap a picture of me being this happy inside a gym.
Sometimes I get so “in the zone” while working that I suddenly realize that the break I said I would take was 3 hours ago. It happens to me more often than not. It can get a bit intense, so when I need a break, I love to get the pups, press start on my favorite podcast or audiobook, and head out for a long walk. Always resets me.