People assume that fitness and strength training are all about building a strong body. If you regularly sweat it out during a strength training session, Zen out in a yoga class, or hit the pavement for an after-work run, you’ll build more than a strong body, you’ll also build a strong mind. But, let’s take a look at some ways exercise can help you strengthen your brain while you’re strengthening your muscles.

Exercise improves your mood
Exercise does your body good! However, as it turns out, it also does your mind good. Exercise produces a variety of “feel good” neurotransmitters and hormones (including dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins), which can deliver a major boost to your mood. Plus, research has found people who exercise regularly experience significantly less depression, anger, and stress than people who exercise infrequently or not at all. So, next time you find yourself in a bad mood and want to get yourself to a happier, better place? Getting your sweat on may be just what you need to give your mood a much-needed boost.

Exercise increases self-esteem
One major element of being mentally strong is feeling good about who you are. And a solid way to increase self-esteem and start feeling better about yourself? You guessed it—fitness. Research has found exercise can have a positive effect on self-esteem. So, if you have moments where you struggle with challenging feelings about yourself, your character, or your value (and, let’s be real—who doesn’t?), lacing up your shoes and getting in a good workout may really help you to start pushing your self-esteem in the right direction.

Use exercise to get stronger—physically and mentally
Exercising is one of the best ways to build physical strength, but it’s a great way to build mental strength, too. And now that you know exactly how working on your physical strength can make you mentally strong, all that’s left to do? Get out there and make exercise a priority—and become stronger, mentally and physically, in the process.

Sharper memory and thinking
The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.