Exercise -- and you are better person. That's what university students thought when they rated characteristics of people they believed worked out. In a recent study, the students read profiles of fictional subjects described as "average looking." Some were supposedly exercisers and some non-exercisers -- but in other ways identical. Exercisers got higher rating for strength, health and attractiveness as well as for confidence, self-control, independence and hard work.
Kathleen Martin, author of the study, thinks the messages in the media and from doctors about physical fitness have got through. "If you're tyring to decide whether to start exercising," says Martin, "this might be an incentive. You don't have to be the world's greatest athlete. Just by virtue of exercising, you'll benefit from a social perspective."
She encourages people to talk about their workouts. "Tell people, definitely. It does make a difference in how they see you."
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