Your self-esteem is defined as your overall opinion of yourself, your abilities, and your limitations. It plays a huge role in our day-to-day lives and our mental well-being. Self-esteem can be both positive and negative, but positive self-esteem is what benefits us and helps us live life as thriving, healthy adults.

Since self-esteem is under the mental health umbrella, exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on your self-esteem and your mind-body connection

But how exactly are exercise and self-esteem connected?

In this article, we’ll cover the top ways that exercise improves self-esteem and the psychological benefits that anyone can achieve through exercise.

Let’s begin.

How Does Exercise Improve Self-Esteem and Confidence?

Exercise improves self-esteem and confidence by reducing stress, increasing feelings of accomplishment, helping with decision-making, improving your outlook on life, making you less critical of yourself, and more.

We'll discuss how exercise can boost self-esteem and confidence in greater detail below. 

5 Ways Exercise Can Boost Self-Esteem

As exercise reduces depression, anxiety, and negative moods, it makes space for improved self-esteem in a number of ways, including:

1. Increased Sense of Accomplishment

Who doesn’t love that successful feeling after a workout? It feels great knowing you’ve completed your physical activity for the day and future-you is about to reap all the benefits of the work you just put in. 

This feeling can add to your overall self-esteem and self-confidence. As you continue with a regular exercise regimen, hit personal bests, perfect your form, and even master an activity like dance or kickboxing, the feelings of accomplishment and self-esteem continue to be more consistent. 

Whether it’s a 5-minute strength training class focused on core or a 45-minute kickboxing class, a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem is achievable through any exercise. 

Pro tip: If you want to reap the benefits of strength training but aren’t sure where to start, keep a look out for lululemon Studio's Beginner Strength program, launching Sept. 6. It’s specifically designed for those new to strength training to teach you all the basics from the ground up. 

2. Reduced Stress

The way that people react to stress is directly affected by their self-esteem. Low self-esteem can cause you to have a more reactive experience to a stressful situation, while high self-esteem can lead to psychological benefits allowing you to deal with stress with a level head.

People experience lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine after bouts of physical activity, making them more emotionally resilient when stressful events arise. Something as simple as aerobic exercise, like a 30-minute cardio class or a moderately intense level of weight training, can hugely reduce stress and improve your self-esteem.

3. Helping With Decision Making

Whether it’s in your personal life or at work, making decisions can be stressful. When a person has a healthy level of self-esteem, they’re better at making decisions. The self-esteem that comes with exercise is carried into your day-to-day life, elevating your brain function and allowing you to make decisions with confidence.

4. Improving Outlook on Life

This benefit is directly related to the endorphins that are released through physical fitness. 

Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body that can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. This type of physiological response to exercise decreases anxiety and feelings of depression, making room for a positive attitude and increased self-esteem.

5. Reducing Self-Criticism

Regular physical activity leads to feelings of being less critical of yourself. A healthy exercise routine naturally leads to a positive body image and self-image, improving self-esteem.

This type of positive reinforcement of the self can come from internal feelings of self-efficacy as well as friends and workout buddies who share words of encouragement and take notice of your physical health.

With lululemon Studio, for example, you’re able to connect with friends over the app and send motivational messages to each other, creating a strong sense of community and positivity.   

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Exercise and Self-Esteem Go Hand in Hand

Boosting your self-esteem through physical exercise is one of the most holistic approaches to physical and mental well-being. Whether it’s strength training and weight lifting or aerobic exercise, any and all forms of exercise will have a positive effect on your self-esteem.

lululemon Studio's Mirror is a smart home gym that looks like a sleek mirror when it’s turned off, but when it’s turned on, it’s a portal into endless fitness classes and experiences, right in your home. The reflective surface allows you to see yourself as you work out while watching an instructor who is also displayed on the mirror’s surface. 

Every lululemon Studio's workout will help you work towards your fitness goals, in turn boosting your self-esteem. Attend classes live or stream them on demand, and choose from a library of over 10,000 classes across 50+ categories. 

Feel your self-esteem rise with exercise. Join the lululemon Studio App FREE for 30 days and gain access to over 10,000 classes and over 60 workout categories guaranteed to boost your well-being.