How Long Before You Feel the Benefits of Exercise?

Regular aerobic and strength training exercise offers numerous health benefits — both short-term and long-term. In fact, after one exercise session, you may notice some physical and psychological changes.

You can see results in just 4 weeks of exercise. (Image: Hero Images/Hero Images/GettyImages)

However, most of the benefits from a routine exercise program will start to appear within four weeks of consistent training.

Tip

It's not long to wait. Just four weeks and you'll start to see the results of your new workout routine.

Exercise and Your Mood

The effect of exercise on your mood and energy level is one of the first and possibly most valuable benefits of your workout. Exercise, either aerobic or strength training, can improve your mood, reduce stress, fight depression, energize your body and improve sleep.

ACE Fitness suggests making "functional goals." That means create a goal that is hard but achievable. Instead of standing in front of the mirror bemoaning the fact that you're not losing weight as fast as you want, commit to doing a pull-up. Since that is an exceptionally hard exercise, think of the feeling of accomplishment it will engender. Sign up for a half marathon and then create a training schedule.

Increase Your Aerobic Endurance

You may begin to notice that your aerobic endurance is improving in as little as two weeks when exercising just three days a week. The same exercise that was previously difficult or challenging is no longer quite as difficult to perform, or you can perform the same activity for longer. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes at least five days a week which means that you'll be ready to up your game after two weeks.

Whenever you exercise aerobically, your body responds to the stimulus by increasing heart rate and blood flow. Overtime, your body begins adapting to the stimulus by increasing capillarization in the muscle allowing for greater blood flow to the tissues, which can help improve aerobic endurance.

Gains in Strength

Gains in strength can occur in as little as one or two weeks after beginning a new strength-training program. These changes are primarily a result of neurological adaptations rather than muscle growth. Strength gains occur initially because the connections between the motor neurons in the spinal cord allow the motor units to act more in sync, which increases the muscle's ability to generate force.

Disease Risk Reduction

One of the significant benefits associated with regular exercise is reducing your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease. The minimum recommendation for decreasing your disease risk factor is at least 30 minutes, five days a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cycling or brisk walking.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans advise that adults gain the most health benefits when they exercise every day. Working out for 30 minutes, seven days a week, means you have an even lower risk from developing some cancers. If you don't have 30 free minutes every day, you can exercise vigorously for 15 minutes to get the same benefits.

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