Here’s some great news.  The next time you head out on a run, go to your kickboxing class, or start your pilates session – the benefits of exercise kick in immediately. 

In fact, according to Michele Olson, a professor on exercise physiology at Auburn University, changes happen to your body within seconds. And as little as half an hour of exercise four days a week can add SIX years to your life! So here’s a breakdown of how exercise affects your body – from within seconds to over the long-term.

You immediately start to fight flab. During typical cardio exercise, your body uses mainly fat for fuel. And the more intensely you exercise, the more fat gets burned.

Within one hour of exercise: You’re better protected against colds and flu. Exercise boosts your immune system that quickly – and the effect lasts 24 hours.

Just after exercise, your mood is elevated. Your brain is flooded with feel-good endorphins for a couple hours after you workout. And if you’ve completed an endurance event, like a marathon, your mood will be elevated for up to a day.

Within a day of exercise, your heart is healthier. One workout lowers your blood pressure for up to 16 hours.

After a month of exercise, you’ve got more brainpower. It stimulates proteins in the brain that help new cells form.

With 4 months of regular exercise under your belt, you’ll feel amazing. Four months of exercise is as good as prescription meds at boosting your mood and reducing depression.

And with a year of regular exercise, you’ll be a fat-melting machine. Your cells will be super efficient at breaking down fat and using it as fuel. You’ll also have cut your cancer risk by about 33 percent - reducing your chances of breast cancer, lung cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer.

Now who’s ready to lace up their sneakers and go for a run?