7 Ways Exercise Improves Self-Esteem

We’ve all experienced moments of lost confidence or lower self-esteem, especially at times in our lives when unwanted changes in our bodies start to take place. Whether they result from pregnancy, aging, stress, or other factors, when we see those changes, our first instinct may be to do what feels safe–hide away. But really, what we should be doing is getting out there and working to strengthen our bodies and our self-esteem. Luckily, there’s a safe, supportive environment where women can do just that–Curves, the gym designed for women.  

Whether you’re embarking on a fitness program for the first time in your life or you’ve been exercising for years, it’s important to remember that the link between exercise and confidence doesn’t come from weight loss effects alone. By engaging in a workout that includes both cardiovascular conditioning and strength training, you will bolster both your mental and physical health. And you will feel better, both in your body and your mind. Here’s a deeper dive into the benefits of exercise on mental health:

1. Exercise boosts confidence

In a 2016 study, researchers found that a regular exercise routine like the Curves Circuit was linked with higher self-esteem. They found that physical activity helped improve people’s body image and perceived physical fitness (in other words, how in shape they felt they were). It also helped them lose weight, which had positive effects on their confidence and self-esteem.1

2. There are significant benefits of exercise on mental health

The mental benefits of exercise come from changes in neurochemicals in the brain. Exercise lowers the body’s stress hormones, which helps combat emotional stress. A full body workout also stimulates production of endorphins, natural painkillers that elevate mood and make us feel optimistic and relaxed after we complete an exercise routine.2

3. Exercise gives us energy

The energy boost you get right after you’ve finished the Curves circuit keeps on going, giving you lasting vigor throughout the day. In a review of 6,800 people, researchers found there was a direct connection between a person’s physical activity and his or her level of energy.3 The energy you get from your full body workout comes from the boost in oxygen, as well as the increase in mitochondria in muscles cells that results from physical activity. With this added oomph, you will be more productive and confident throughout your day.4

4. Exercise is good for mental and physical health

The benefits of exercise on mental health kick in during and continue right after you finish your workout. Physical activity improves your thinking and judgment and reduces short-term feelings of anxiety. It can also lower stress, reduce your risk of depression, and improve sleep. In terms of physical health, not only is physical activity an important part of a weight loss plan, but regular exercise also helps prevent a long list of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Knowing you are doing what you can to bolster your physical and mental health is empowering and can further improve your self-esteem.

5. When you finish your 30-minute full body workout, you check something off your to-do list

The sense of completion you get when you wrap up the Curves circuit can give your self-esteem a boost, thus motivating you to continue with your workout plan. We are all busy, so fitness should be quick yet effective, which is the definition of the Curves circuit.

6. You like the way you look

One of the most rewarding parts of a regular workout and weight loss diet plan is seeing the fruits of your labor. As you begin to rack up hours in Curves, chances are you’ll lose weight and get stronger and healthier. Looking in the mirror and loving what you see boosts your confidence, too. And when others notice, it does wonders for your self-esteem.

7. You feel great

As you continue to engage in a strength training workout, your muscles will grow stronger and more toned. As a result, activities you tackle in your everyday life will become easier, such as carrying groceries, climbing a ladder, or running after your kids or grandkids.

Starting a new workout routine can be intimidating, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve set foot in a fitness club. But at Curves, you’ll get the support and motivation of women just like you. You’ll complete a total body workout in just 30 minutes with the Curves circuit, and you’ll have an array of Curves classes to choose from. As a bonus, you’ll get the advice and support of your Curves coach. If you haven’t already, check out Curves, the gym designed for women, today!

Your Curves Coach is there to lead you through every gym workout. With your Curves Coach success is within reach. Visit ‘Why Curves’ to find out more about Curves women’s only gyms and our full body workout on the Curves Circuit, or find your local Curves and sign up today! 


  1. Physical activity and self-esteem: testing direct and indirect relationships associated with psychological and physical mechanisms
  2. Exercising to Relax
  3. Physical activity and feelings of energy and fatigue: epidemiological evidence
  4. Does exercise really boost energy levels?
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