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17 Reasons to work out that have nothing to do with weight

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

If you don't work out to lose weight, do it for one of these important reasons

Your weight is a number on a scale.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why one fluctuating number has so much power? And if scales didn't exist at all, would you still go through the effort to exercise and stay in shape?

Yes, a thousand times yes. Here is why you need to exercise regularly — and these reasons have nothing to do with weight.

1. Fight depression and anxiety

Exercise is nature's mood booster. Work up a sweat to release feel-good hormones into your bloodstream for a natural answer to depression and anxiety.

2. Feel good naked

Feeling sexy isn't directly related to your weight. Sexiness is a function of confidence, stamina and tone — all of which are improved with a regular workout.

3. Keep up with children

Despite their difficulties with coordination, children are nimble and fast-moving creatures. You'll be better prepared to chase them down and pick them up if you move your body now and then.

More: How to know if a gym membership is worth it in one easy flowchart

4. Sleep soundly at night

According to the National Sleep Foundation, "exercise significantly improves the sleep of people with chronic insomnia." A workout is a natural sleep aid? We can get on board with that.

5. Minimize chronic pain

If you experience chronic pain, a workout might seem counterproductive. Research from the National Institutes of Health, however, shows that regular exercise reduces the symptoms of chronic pain.

6. Build bone health

Use your bones, and you build their strength. Weight-bearing workouts are known to improve bone density over time, for a reduced risk of fractures as you age.

More: 12 Motivational workout quotes that have nothing to do with weight

7. Bond with others

Workout buddies are legit and lifetime friends. A regular workout will also give you a chance to see your workout partner every week rather than a once-in-a-month girls' night out.

8. Live a longer life

If you work out, you're more likely to live longer than your sedentary peers. Sounds like a worthy reason to us.

9. Set an example

Your children will learn the benefits and joy of physical activity if they see you work out every now and then. And don't you want them to reap the benefits of workouts, just like you?

10. Eat whatever the hell you want

OK, maybe not whatever you want. But a regular workout routine will help you maintain a healthy weight even if you splurge from time to time.

More: 100 years of fitness in one amazing video (WATCH)

11. Enjoy nature

Nothing beats the feeling of an outdoor workout, in which the sun is shining against your bare skin. Bonus points if you soak up some natural vitamin D during your daily exercise — your vitamin D boost will further improve your muscle performance.

12. Know your strength

You are stronger than you realize. A workout gives you a chance to know your strength, appreciate it and even feel dazzled by it as a function of your femininity.

13. Learn new skills

A regular workout gives you a chance to learn a new skill, like yoga, rowing, dance or kickboxing. The prospect of learning a new skill in just a few hours is thrilling and adventurous.

14. Embrace your form

A body that moves — no matter its shape — is a beautiful body. A workout reminds you to embrace your beautiful body for what it can accomplish, just as it is.

15. Improve your balance

You may not think much about your balance, but it's a skill that will serve you well as you grow older. A regular workout routine improves balance — thereby reducing fall risks and injuries in your later years.

16. Increase your sex drive

If you work out regularly, you'll want to have sex more often. Simple enough.

17. Feel empowered

When you reach a workout goal, you'll feel empowered to push towards other goals. The gains you experience in the world of exercise have a way of bleeding over into your entire life.

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