When you’re having a day full of negative body image thoughts, what makes you feel better? According to a survey done this past Spring by Glamour magazine, 40% of us are generally unhappy with our bodies. Now, while I think that women’s magazines can cause us be more unhappy with our bodies, I think it is wonderful that Glamour has a survey which asks about women’s body image and what improves it. Glamour magazine conducted the first survey of this kind in 1984, twenty five years ago.

Exercise is definitely one thing that works for me, and apparently most other women. Great news for Healthworks Fitness! 96% of the 16,000 women surveyed said “exercise makes them like their body more.” (Besides exercise, the women also revealed that professional achievements, sex, eating healthy and complements from other women helped them feel better about their body image.)

Why would exercise help us feel better about our bodies? Beyond the normal “now I don’t feel as bad for eating that cookie” attitude towards calories, I know that working out helps me feel strong and toned. Its great to be able to feel like I can accomplish something physical, as I was never an “athlete” while in school. It is also why I like to try new classes and equipment, to see if I am any good at it. What better self esteem booster than to find out you are good at something you haven’t done before?

So next time you are thinking about skipping your workout because you’re tired, stressed, out of time, or whatever, find a way to include some kind of exercise because it will make you feel better about your body. In turn, you’ll feel better about yourself and probably improve your whole day! Amazing what a little exercise can do.