When I think about going to the gym, I usually think about toned abs, biceps, and the list goes on.

But there is a host of other benefits that don’t come to mind as readily as stronger muscles. These reasons make working out regularly at the gym a vital part of your routine and important to your health, well being, and performance.

What are those reasons? Here’s what Womens Health says.

It Improves Your Mood
A brisk workout is like a bad mood repellent, boosting production of brain chemicals that ease stress and anxiety and make you feel happier and more relaxed. Research shows that you’ll reap the benefits even if you feel so bummed, you’ve got to drag yourself to Zumba class.

 

It Helps You Sleep Better
Call it nature’s Ambien: A recent National Sleep Foundation study found that up to 67 percent of regular exercisers say they get a good night’s sleep—and it doesn’t matter if you lace up your sneakers in the morning, afternoon, or even late at night.

 

It Strengthens Your Memory
Whether you’ve got an exam coming up or a big presentation at work to give, you might want to hit your fave indoor cycling class first. A new study of young adults from the journal Behavioral Brain Research found that a single session of aerobic exercise resulted in higher blood levels of hormones that are associated with a strong memory.

 

It Can Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
How much working out and what type of exercise isn’t exactly clear, but research links physical activity with a lower risk of breast and endometrial cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

 

It Recharges Your Batteries
Bike riding, even at moderate pace 2-3 times a week, can boost energy levels by 20 percent and decrease fatigue by 65 percent; a run or other cardio workout can also reduce exhaustion. The reason: breaking a sweat raises your metabolism and increases production of the brain chemical dopamine, and that helps you feel less tired.

Read More >> See another 5 of the best reasons to workout at Womens Health