By Karen Weintraub
Yes, it's a little subjective, and sounds like a refrain from Marlo Thomas' Free To Be You And Me, but still it's worth noting: exercise can make you feel better about you.
Indeed, when older people start exercising, they become more satisfied with their bodies and themselves, a newly published study out of Baylor University suggests.
The study got 1,800 older people exercising regularly, and found that their self-image improved, as did their happiness with the way their bodies functioned.
All of the study subjects participated for about six months in an exercise and behavior change program called Active for Life®. The aim of the research, whose participants were 69 years old on average, was to explore what factors changed older people’s self-image.
On average, all the volunteers felt better about themselves by the end of the study.
But the people whose self-image improved the most exercised the most.
Race also played a role: Whites seemed to gain more than African-Americans (though African-Americans had higher bodily satisfaction to begin with). People with more education, less depression and lower body weight to begin with also advanced the most.
As we age, we generally get more content with ourselves, even if we’re still unhappy with our appearance. But why not get happier about that, too?
Karen Weintraub is a freelance health and science writer based in Boston.
This program aired on August 4, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.