Thursday, 01 September 2011 14:12
(CSULA-UT) The desire to look good can be a strong motivator for achieving health and fitness.
"People are hard-wired to strive to look better because it brings benefits throughout life, be it in mate selection, employment opportunities, salary or life in general," says Gordon Patzer, a professor of business administration at Roosevelt University in Chicago and the author of six books on the physical attractiveness phenomenon.
According to Patzer, there is a “beauty premium” for good looking people. In the U.S attractive people make 5% more on than the average looking, and 10% more than those considered unattractive. So those who transform their bodies can expect to earn nearly 16% more a year. This is no wonder why the beauty industry is so big.
When applied properly, vanity can be great for physical well being, because of the health benefits that come with exercise. He believes that people hit the gym because, "While many people state they are pursuing fitness for health reasons, the truth is that these are often secondary to their desire to look better. In the back of their minds they're killing two birds with one stone," Patzer says.
"It will keep us going back to maintain our new look,” Patzer commented.
However, vanity can backfire if we put too much emphasis on it. "It can cross a line where we get into anorexia and bulimia, or people who do too much exercise and cause injury," Patzer says. "We can also go too far by getting radical plastic surgery, taking anabolic steroids or dangerous loss supplements, or going on crash diet.”
In 2007, researchers at UCLA published studies on why muscles are sexy. In one of the studies, 141 college women looked at six computer generated physiques, with the faces blocked, to rate sexual desirability.
"Women rate muscular men as sexier, more physically dominant and volatile, and less committed to their mates than nonmuscular men," the authors noted in their paper in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
Most interesting, however, is the part of the study that found "men with moderate muscularity are rated most attractive" and that the more brawny bodybuilder physique is deemed less desirable.