With the normal perception of how people should look and the name calling that is associated with teenagers, the psychological effect of obesity is usually felt more vividly than the actual physical effects. There is hope. New study shows that just a little bit of exercise can greatly boost the self-esteem of teenagers who are overweight.

The Study of overweight

The study was carried out by researchers in Ottawa and involved thirty participants who were all overweight and between the ages of 12 and 17. The exercise involved cycling on a stationary bike for session, which lasted 60 minutes. The participants could stop or take a break whenever they felt like it. These sessions were carried out twice every week for a period of ten weeks, and the participants did their exercising separately at all times. According to the study, the teenagers who participated didn’t lose any weight. The only notable change in physique was a small reduction in body fat. There was an improvement in their aerobic fitness, which was expected.

The most notable change was in the mental state of the participants. They had a much better perception of their performance in academics, and they also felt more competent in social circles. The participants also believed more in their abilities in athletics, and they felt better about their body image. The participants reported an improved self-esteem and this could be quite vital in dealing with the strains that come with being obese such as being isolated socially, being discriminated against and depression.

Studies: In the Past

Studies have been carried out in the past to find out the psychological pay-off of exercising and in these studies it was found that the participants who lost the most weight plus body fats were the ones who experienced the greatest psychological benefits. This was a stack difference to this particular study since in this case the participants didn’t lose any significant weight or body fat, and yet they still registered an improvement in their self-esteem.

The truth

The truth is that two hours in a week is much less than what is recommended for teenagers. According to Canada’s Public health agency, the recommended period of physical activity of teenagers is at least an hour every day. One of the suggested reasons for the improvement in self-esteem is that prior to the study, the participants were quite sedentary

Those who put together the study intend to do more research to determine whether the participants kept up these levels of physical activity after the study. The biggest concern is that adherence to these levels may be an issue because exercise interventions which are structured usually work in the short term but not so much as time passes by. There is hope since the studies were done in a lab and this means that the exercise can be replicated in homes.