Regular exercise is good for your cardiovascular health and reduces other problems that go along with obesity or inactivity, like high blood pressure and difficulty breathing after climbing stairs. Having strong core muscles helps with back problems too. In a world where we have just about eliminated waiting, we’re not really accustomed to persevering for these long term benefits. Good news is that there’s a short term benefit to exercise too! It may take months of working out to get Michelle Obama arms or to get a six pack, but you can start feeling the other benefits of exercise right away.

Exercise can help stave off depression and anxiety and unlike toned muscles, these mood-boosting benefits are nearly immediate. Depression can be very hard to treat with medications. It often takes multiple tries before finding a drug that actually works, but exercise could be a simpler solution. A study showed that just thirty minutes of low to moderate exercise a few times a week is as effective as taking pharmaceuticals for depression. Many patients saw benefits in just one week!

Anyone can get a mood boost from exercise because of the increased brain activity. The rush of endorphins creates an immediate sense of well-being. It also reduces muscle tension and you’re a lot more likely to feel happier when you’re not in pain! Again, just a week of exercise should be enough to feel looser and more flexible.

Usually when you think about an activity, you think about the long term benefits. But when you exercise to fight depression don’t think about what you might want your body to look like. It’s hard to keep going if you focus on a fitness goal that may take a long time to attain, plus you don’t want to over do anything. Instead of trying to get a flat stomach, focus on how good you feel after you work out. You’ll start to realize the important thing is how healthy and strong your stomach is, which is way more important than being unreasonably flat.