Body Image and Exercise

Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, Rebecca L. Bassett-Gunter and Catherine Conlin

in The Oxford Handbook of Exercise Psychology

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195394313
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Body Image and Exercise

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  • Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology



Exercise has been shown to be an effective intervention for improving body image among both women and men. This chapter begins with a review of the meta-analytic evidence regarding the effects of exercise on body image. We then provide a comprehensive assessment of potential mechanisms underlying the effects of exercise on body image. Three mechanisms are discussed: objective changes in physical fitness, perceived changes in physical fitness, and changes in self-efficacy. An analysis of potential moderators of the exercise–body image relationship follows. Finally, we present a review of emerging topics in the exercise intervention and body image literature and provide recommendations for body image research within the field of exercise psychology.

Keywords: body satisfaction; self-perception; self-efficacy; physical activity; social physique anxiety

Article.  14174 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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