Spring is around the corner  that means you’ll likely see an influx of social media ads telling you to lose weight to look good, magazine covers advertising the best way to get a beach body and billboards encouraging thinner figures and traditional beauty standards.

Society has largely put an emphasis on the superficial benefits of physical activity, but in recent years there’s been a much-needed shift to celebrate what else exercise can do for us.

There are hundreds of reasons why working out is good for you that have nothing to do with physical appearance. Here are just 5 of the ways exercise can improve your life.

Reduced stress and improved mood

You’ve heard people say they destress or unwind by hitting the gym, but did you know exercise is scientifically proven to improve your mood? Physical activity can increase the production of endorphins, which can lift your mood and make you happier.

And that’s not just a result of intense workouts – exercise of any level can decrease feelings of depression.

Next time you’re feeling down, stressed or overwhelmed, try a Group Fitness Class or a quick workout to clear your mind.

Better sleep

Busy lifestyles, schoolwork, career stress and families are just a few of the things that can contribute to shorter or less restful sleep.

You can achieve better sleep by incorporating regular exercise into your schedule. Physical activity can help all aspects of the sleep cycle: you’ll fall asleep faster, deepen your sleep and feel more rested when you wake up.

All physical activity is helpful, but yoga is particularly known for its bedtime benefits.

One study found that 150 minutes of physical activity per week – which works out to about 20 minutes a day – can improve sleep quality by up to 65 percent.

Increased energy

If you’re feeling sluggish and unmotivated, it’s hard to get yourself off the couch and into the gym. But it’s a cycle – once you get into the habit of working out, you’ll feel energized and more alert.

Regular physical activity can increase energy levels for healthy people, as well as those who have medical conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Improved overall health

Proper exercise does wonders for your health. It can improve your cardiovascular fitness, decrease blood pressure and decrease blood fat levels. Exercise can also prevent or manage health concerns like high blood pressure, arthritis and heart disease, just to name a few.

Improved memory and brain function

Exercise is good for the body and the brain.

As we age, our bodies generate fewer brain cells, but exercise could help prevent this slowdown. Working out can boost brain chemicals that prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus, a crucial part of the brain for learning and memory. This can help improve our memory function and overall thinking skills.