1. Improve Your Mental Health

In addition to building physical strength, exercise can improve mental health. It’s been shown to reduce depression, anxiety and negative moods as well as alleviate low self-esteem and social withdrawal. In place of these negative emotions, exercise boosts self-esteem and cognitive function.

2. Reduce Stress

Any form of exercise, from aerobics to strength training to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. Physical activity boosts feel-good endorphins and distracts the mind from daily stresses.

3. Gain a Sense of Accomplishment

One of the biggest payoffs of exercise is that, through focus and physical movement, you’re able to feel a strong sense of accomplishment. Whether you beat an old time in the 100-meter dash or add time to your daily walk, exercise can give you a sense of pride at having achieved a particular goal.

4. Improve Your Brain Function

During endurance exercise, a molecule called irisin is produced in the brain through a chain reaction. Scientists believe it has neuroprotective effects and can activate genes involved in memory and learning. Through experiments on mice, investigators of Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute discovered that irisin and FNDC5 become elevated in the brain during endurance exercise.

5. Start Feeling Better

In the short-term, exercise has been shown to enhance our mood and influence our minds toward adopting more positive thoughts. In the long-term, physical exercise can improve our confidence by making us feel good about our physique and abilities. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, each individual should exercise 150 to 300 minutes per week at a moderately intense level for an allover sense of well-being. Combine strength training, cardio and flexibility-building disciplines like yoga to reap the benefits of an allover approach to fitness.