Body image and exercise

Are you exercising for the wrong reasons?

Ah body image, that feeling we all face when we roll out of bed, a bit disheveled, feeling a bit flabbier, more tired, haggered and greying than usual.


That perception of our own physical appearance that then motivates or haunts our behavior for the day that follows.

For some of us we may shrug it off, accept that we’re getting a tad older and rounder on the edges, but for others, a negative relationship with our body image may be driving us towards unhealthy behaviors.


The Connection Between Body Image and Exercise


The association between body image and exercise participation has manifested in such a way that related issues including appearance, body dissatisfaction and weight management are all consistently ranked as top motivators for exercise participation.Body image and exercise

In Australia, the rapidly rising numbers of people suffering from body image related disorders (such as eating disorders) highlights the significance of this unhealthy reality.

Is this the reason why so many of us pick up the dumbbells in the first place? And why so many of us have difficulty in maintaining an exercise regime? Are we exercising for the wrong reasons?

When we are motivated to exercise based on external factors (keeping a partner attracted, impressing friends and colleagues) the reasons that drive us are outside of our control. These factors will change overtime and research suggests that if we are externally motivated, the exercise routine won’t last.

On the other hand, when we are internally motivated, we are driven by a desire to make ourselves healthier, happier and feeling better. We are accountable to ourselves and ourselves only. Learning to channel our motivation from the right source means that we have control over every variable and decision, and hold the key to whether we succeed or fail.

Don’t get me wrong… we are all externally motivated to some degree. But if you struggle to maintain an exercise routine, ask yourself, “why am I (me, myself) doing this anyway”. 

Further, there is so much more to be gained from regular exercise, the looking good part is just a bonus!

Exercise Right’s Top Reasons Why You Should Exercise FOR YOU


  • Men and women who report increased levels of physical activity and fitness have a 20-35% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to those who aren’t physically active
  • Regular exercise can reduce your risk of depression and may help you to sleep better
  • Physically active men and women exhibit a 30-40% reduction in their risk of colon cancer, and physically active women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 20-30%
  • Regular exercise is one of the few ways scientists have found to generate new neurons (brain cells), which are created in the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory
  • Resistance exercise (i.e. using weights) is beneficial in increasing bone mineral density, prevents fractures and bone loss associated with aging.


Blog contributor bottom banner Rachel Climie


Exercise Right Blog