The Surprising Reasons Why Women Are Really Working Out

three women yogaFrom "sweating for the wedding" to "strong is the new skinny," there are a gazillion motivational mantras for moving more. But, for better or worse, we tend to think of the ultimate reward as dropped pounds or sizes. Silly us! The truth is that being more comfortable in your skin (no matter your size, actually) is just one of a gazillion boons of fitness.

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It's no exaggeration that exercise can heal you on multiple levels. Here, 16 women explain how their favorite workout manages to multitask as medicine and benefit them in ways that go above and beyond skinnier jeans.

1. "Working out has always made me way hornier! Because all that blood is flowing, and also, I feel more attractive and empowered." -- Sasha W., Maplewood, New Jersey

2. "Lowers my blood sugar. (I'm a diabetic.)" -- Carol C., Eugene, Oregon

3. "Running is my sanity. It keeps me in shape for hiking during hunting season, and I eat better when I work out regularly." -- Crystal N., Montana

4. "You're only one workout away from a good mood. I definitely believe that to be true. Also, yoga always leaves behind a calming feeling." -- Stacey L., North Caldwell, New Jersey

5. "It's the one or two hours a day I don't feel guilty about taking time for myself. Going shopping or out to lunch with friends? Slightly guilty. Working out? It's a break, and I don't feel guilty at all, because I know I'm doing it for my health, and also, so that I can be strong for my kids." -- Kelly K., Los Angeles, California

6. "The best benefit so far has been practically eliminating my chronic headaches I've had since I was a teenager! I used to have numerous, serious headaches, and at least one migraine a month, in the past four months, I have had one migraine and only ONE other headache! That is AMAZING for me. This is the fewest I've had since they started." -- Anonymous 

7. "I go to the gym regularly to be fit, healthy, and strong. It is important to take care of your body, as you get only one." -- Sue Z., Hamilton, New Jersey

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8. "Working out makes me feel in control of my life. I love the confidence and the endorphins; I get addicted!" -- Beth W., British Columbia, Canada

9. "I like to workout six days a week, because it makes me feel better about myself, and also gives me an energy boost. Furthermore, it provides me with a sense of accomplishment by helping me work towards my goals." -- Lori P., Jefferson City, Tennessee

10. "Exercising, especially yoga, helps me to declutter my mind. I can start the day anxious about all of the tasks at hand. But after a workout, I feel more focused." -- Caitlin D., Lake Wylie, South Carolina

11. "I walk. It gets me moving and keeps me active." -- Robin L., Toledo Ohio

12. "It gives me a socially acceptable reason to leave the office and spend some time outside in the middle of the day. I sleep better when I exercise. And I often think of solutions to problems while exercising." -- Kelly C., Iowa City, Iowa

13. "Working out makes an intense difference for me when it comes to anxiety and overall stress." -- Maria M., St. Petersburg, Florida

14. "Makes me feel strong and capable! Grateful my body works!" -- Jeanne P., Midland Park, New Jersey

15. "Going to the gym gives me a chance to meet people I may not have met otherwise or enjoy social time with friends at a yoga, spinning, or Pilates class." -- Suzee S., Manhattan, New York

16. "Yoga is so good for my hips and back and shoulders! It relieves so much tension in my body from work as a hair stylist (back and shoulders) and also from running (hips, knees, etc.). It helps open my chest back and shoulders to align the spine! And the sweating releases toxins, too. It's amazing!" -- Gabriela S., Brooklyn, New York

What mind-body benefits of working out do you appreciate the most?

benefits of exercise

Images via iStock.com/Antonio_Diaz and © Ahturner/Shutterstock

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