Body Image Expectations
Health and Wellness

Body Image Expectations

Does Sports and Fitness Have a Positive or Negative Influence?

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Body Image Expectations
PsychGuides.com

Due to the physical nature of sports and fitness alike, there is a major influence on teenagers’ thoughts on body image today. Although the work ethic may seem gruesome, as well as an overbearing struggle for social acceptance, sports provide a person with the tools they needed to propel themselves towards utmost self-confidence. Sports is a healthy influence on teenagers’ thoughts on body image by promoting positive self-esteem and self acceptance.

Sports provide a healthy influence on teenagers’ thoughts on body image through promotion of healthy lifestyles. In order to uplift their own well-being and longevity, teenagers take it upon themselves to better their own lifestyle. The National Eating Disorders Association states, “Aim for lifestyle mastery, rather than the mastery over your body, weight, or appearance. View exercise and balanced eating as aspects of your overall approach to a life that emphasizes self care.” In addition to those remarks, author Natalie Angier believes that sports portray a different meaning to the word fitness. “Arnold Schwarzenegger has pointed out that top-tier athletes are not in it for the sake of “fitness.” Schwarzenegger, a body built by muscle, firmly believes through hard work and dedication, athletes advance their body image for their own self-esteem. Through positive reinforcement, sports promote an overall healthy state of well-being, without alluding towards a negative body influence.

Athletes possess the power to influence teenagers’ thoughts on body image by way of positive outlooks. Serena Williams and others athletes of her physical form tend to show off positive alternative outlooks on the effects sports of have on a person’s body, revealed by author Britt. “My hope is that America is smart and open enough to embrace Serena William’s “unique” beauty, which in fact can be found on vivid display all over the world”. In contribution to Britt’s argument, the National Eating Disorders Association states, “bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. There is no “right” body type.” No matter what body type is displayed, sports and athletes themselves promote self acceptance.

Although some sports exhibit controversial methods of fitness, the athletic rigor is all part of the status quo and tradition of the sport. For example, the sport of wrestling display questionable methods of fitness in order to achieve a certain body type. “According to a study conducted by the NCAA, competitive wrestlers often shed 15 pounds or more utilizing dangerous methods like fasting, fluid restriction, and even vomiting”. However, athletes undergo these methods to fitness to only better themselves at their sport and to allow these athletes to achieve the highest levels of self acceptance of their appearance. To their own pride and self-awareness, athletes know the of their sport’s athletic rigor to better their own self-confidence in their own body image. Author Natalie Angier offers, “young athletes are pushed to excel at all times”. Athletes push their body to the limits in order to better their own physical image and to achieve full self acceptance.

In conclusion, sports is a healthy influence on teenagers’ thoughts on body image by promoting positive ways to achieve full self-esteem and self acceptance. As it might seem that the traditional body image includes a flat stomach and other influential features, there is no “right” body type. Sports provide an outlet to achieve those desired looks, but on an athlete’s own terms, without the criticism of others.
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