If you’ve ever relished in the triumphant walk to the shower after a really good workout, you don’t need science (or us) to tell you that exercise feels just as good on the inside as it makes you look on the outside. But now, a new study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine finds the feel-good effect can differ depending on the exercise. Exercise To Feel Better…..
When researchers compared the mood benefits of yoga and resistance training to no exercise at all, they found that both significantly reduced depression symptoms. However, the researchers found that resistance training was best for boosting body image while yoga was the most beneficial for improving fatigue, self-esteem, and quality of life.
The body image-boosting power of strength training is at least partially due to its quick results, says Wayne Westcott, PhD, director of exercise science at Quincy College. No matter your age, strength training almost always improves your physical self-concept. “You can see your body start to firm up and the muscle definition start to show fairly rapidly,” says Westcott, which makes you feel more confident about your body.
And if you’ve ever tried yoga, you already know that, no matter how groggy you felt at the start of class, your mental clarity and energy levels improve by the time you walk out the door. “Yoga helps to release muscle tension and increases oxygen circulation throughout the body, which helps you feel less stressed, stiff, and achy, and more energized,” says yoga teacher Jillian Pransky, noting that all of this contributes to a better quality of life. As for that boon in confidence, Pransky theorizes it could be as simple as the fact that yoga improves posture. “When you’re confident, you stand up straighter; when you stand up straighter, you’re more confident,” she says. “Sometimes your body can tell your mind what to think, just as your mind can tell your body how to act.”