A 30-Minute Workout Is a Science-Backed Way to Immediately Boost Your Body Image

You're having one of those days where your jeans don't zip and all you want to do is eat a bag of chips and take a nap — we've all been there. But instead of being hard on yourself, we have a secret to feeling both skinnier and stronger in just 30 minutes: exercise. It seems obvious, but science says that after one 30-minute session, your self-image will be boosted immediately.

Feel Like a Million Bucks

If you're new to exercise, just the idea of visiting the gym can be pretty intimidating. Once you've built up the courage to go, you're faced with beautifully beefed-up bodies, and you think to yourself: "Do I even lift, bro?" But here's the thing, those gym rats have been consistently exercising over time, gradually earning every bulging bicep and elevated glute. (You'll get there!) Before you become discouraged, a July 2017 study reveals that just one 30-minute workout is enough to make you see yourself as both thinner and stronger.

The study analyzed 60 college-aged women with body issues. Some spent 30 minutes sitting and reading quietly (lucky ducks), some attended a 30-minute challenging cycling workout. The women who experienced the challenging workout reported significant improvements in their body image. And this wasn't just a post-exercise endorphin glow working its magic. Those subjects felt the same psychological benefits even 20 minutes later. As TIME elaborates, the "women specifically thought of themselves as thinner and stronger after exercising — regardless of their mood or confidence levels."

Baby Steps (or Squats, or Jumps)

There must be a catch, right? Well, not really. The only stipulation is that your workout needs to be of moderate-to-heavy intensity to see these effects. It's key that you walk away having felt challenged. It's also important to note that the women in this study were all exercisers — it's not a good idea to do anything at the gym that your body isn't ready for. For the best results, choose exercise that's demanding, but also within reach. If you're feeling sluggish, get moving! It's guaranteed to make you feel better.

Need inspiration for a new workout routine? Check out "Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body" by Michael Matthews (he's got a men's version, too). We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

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Written by Anna Todd July 10, 2017

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