Everyone has those days when they’re feeling kind of down on themselves and their self-esteem is in need of some major TLC. When you feel that way, you might vent to a friend you trust, or journal about your feelings, but you might not know that working out makes you more confident from the inside out. And no, I’m not just talking about the physical changes you’ll see in your body that’ll make you be like, “Damn, I look good.” A regular workout routine can have a huge impact on your mental health, and in turn, your self-confidence — and yes, there’s lots of science to back this up, my friends.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, self-esteem refers to how you truly feel about yourself at your core, and it’s “a key indicator of our mental wellbeing and our ability to cope with life stressors.” And while many people are aware of how strong and capable exercise makes you feel on the outside, what really matters is knowing how your workouts provide you with internal self-confidence, and how they make you feel like the best version of yourself.

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