Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.

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Exercise. Either you love it, loathe it or are not very familiar with it. Aside from participating in sports in my teens, exercise wasn’t present much in my life. That is unless you count walking around the mall several times a week as exercise – then I was a pro exerciser!

shopping

You see, metabolism was my best friend until I had my son at age 24; then I started to understand the need for exercise and the confidence high that came with it. After all, there are only so many double cheeseburgers you can eat at McDonald’s until the line “you need to eat a cheeseburger” is less heard and you understand just why “mom pants” are an actual thing.

Fast forward to your 30s (love your thirties, ladies!) and you and metabolism are no longer besties because exercise has taken its place as your BFF. And now your wardrobe closet looks like Under Armour threw up all over the place. Sound familiar to anyone?

Cute clothes are not the only reason that exercise has made me better at life, though. I’ve learned so much along the way, but here are my top five.

1. I have formed a better relationship with commitment. You see, the most important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is commitment. Without it, you’re short of setting yourself up for success. By having commitment, you’re shaping to the best of your ability. And that’s just not in physical form but internally as well.

woman adjusting incline and speed level on treadmill at gym

2. I understand my own body better. By giving myself the daily exercise that my body needs, I know what my capabilities are or when I’m pushing too hard and need rest. Knowing your own limits also allows you to avoid injury.

3. I surround myself with positivity. Since finding exercise, I’ve made a whole new circle of friends with the same interests and similar goals. You wouldn’t believe the difference it makes when you have others to look toward for motivation or encouragement. Now when I feel like skipping leg day or don’t feel like prepping meals on Sunday, I check out my Instagram feed. Seeing others do these same tasks helps to push me to do them myself.

>> Read more: Find the Positives in a Negative World

4. Exercise makes me think about the kind of food I am putting into my body. Ten out of ten times if I work out early, I won’t want to stop at a fast food chain for lunch, simply because I don’t want to waste that ab workout that I woke up an hour early to complete before work. No amount of french fries is worth that.

healthy woman eating salad in kitchen

5. I feel younger. And with that younger feeling comes a beautiful thing: confidence. I love clothes shopping more than I did when I was younger because I know that I have worked hard for the body I have. And there’s no more satisfying feeling than being happy with the work that you’ve put in.

>> Get started with the 10 exercises for beginners featured below!