I definitely wasn't a healthy child. I ate horribly and never exercised.

I did gymnastics, but I only went for one hour a week. On the other days, I would stuff myself with Cheetos and ice cream until I passed out.

I had little to no energy. I would tire out just from playing with my friends at the park.

However, when I got a little older, I fell in love with riding my bike. I just viewed it as a fun activity, but it was also a great form of exercise!

The excess weight I'd been carrying around for years began to melt off of me like a candle, and the benefits didn't stop there!

I had more energy, I was happier, and I was confident in myself for the first time ever.

Weight loss is just one benefit of exercise. Many of the other benefits aren't as acknowledged as people automatically assume people only go to the gym to lose weight.

Therefore, pop a squat (ba dum tss) and check out the other cool benefits of exercise!

1. It increases your energy level 

When you exercise, it boosts your energy level. You'll have an easier time getting up in the morning, and you can finally start cutting down on the Starbucks without feeling like death. When I start my day off by working out, it automatically gives me the right amount of energy I need to get through the day!

2. It boosts your mood

Exercise releases endorphins into the brain, which produce feelings of happiness. Whenever I'm not having a good day, a quick trip to the gym always makes it just a little bit better!

3. It boosts your metabolism

This is especially beneficial for me when I really want late-night Whataburger but don't want to feel nasty the next day! However, it's important to try our hardest to eat healthy while enjoying a treat every once in a while.

4. It can reduce the effects of mental illness

Even though exercise is no replacement for medication and therapy, it definitely helps buffer the effects of depression!

See also: Sorry, But Your 'Mental Health' Also Includes Going To The Gym, Working Out, And Being Active

5. It improves your focus and memory

Exercise stimulates your brain by releasing chemicals that improve your brain structure. It's like mental architecture!

6. It reduces your risk of developing cancer and other illnesses

As someone who has a long family history of physical and mental illnesses, exercise will help me lower my risk of developing these disorders later in life. It won't completely prevent me from getting sick, but it will greatly reduce my risk. I will take what I can get!

7. It boosts your immune system

Before I started working out regularly (with the occasional lazy day), I got sick almost every month. However, I get sick much less often now that I've started a regular workout routine! For you college kids out there: you can't afford to miss class due to sickness and your mom isn't there to nurse you back to health. The gym is your friend.

8. It improves your sleep pattern

Regular exercise helps you fall asleep easier and stay asleep without waking up repeatedly. As someone who is definitely not a morning person, I need every wink of sleep I can possibly get!

9. It strengthens your muscles and bones

This may not seem as important to us when we're young, but it will definitely pay off as we get older. We'll be able to keep up with our kids (if we choose to have them) and younger family members! Also, who wants osteoporosis? Not me!

10. It promotes healthy skin

Exercise helps get rid of toxins in the skin while also producing collagen, which gives your skin that post-workout "glow!"

11. It reduces stress

Exercise promotes a feeling of relaxation that allows us to clear our heads and take on the task at hand. This is especially important for college students who experience excess stress on a daily basis. The gym is your best friend.

12. It's a fun way to meet people

Almost every gym offers group workout classes, which are a great way to make friends. You can also do what you love and meet great friends by joining a sports team!

No matter who you are, your body is a temple. Are you treating it with respect?