Older Women Experts agree: Doing a combination of cardiovascular exercises and strength training moves on an ongoing basis is pretty much a magic wand of health benefits. But you don’t have to wait months to see results. Just two weeks of regular exercise can result in tangible benefits—and some health improvements happen even faster. Our bodies are designed to move, and the following amazing, immediate benefits prove it:

Lower your blood pressure

“There seem to be acute benefits from cardiovascular training that occur for 24-48 hours after each moderate exercise session,” says Randi S. Lite, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the Exercise Science Program at Simmons College. “These include a reduction in resting blood pressure, particularly for those who have high blood pressure.” How does this happen? As we age, our blood vessels become stiffer, which raises blood pressure, says Rani Whitfield, M.D., a family physician and American Heart Association spokesperson. “The hormones released during exercise make blood vessels more compliant, similar to what happens with blood pressure medications,” says Dr. Whitfield. “You won’t feel a difference, but your doctor will—and [he’ll] start to smile.”

Regulate your blood sugar

When we exercise, our body first draws on blood sugar (a.k.a. glucose) for fuel. And insulin is the hormone we produce that regulates the amount of glucose in our blood stream. Exercising naturally regulates blood sugar, because it “immediately improves your body’s ability to use the insulin you’re already making,” says Dr. Whitfield. “Diabetics often have to adjust the medications they’re taking when they get fit,” he adds. Relying on less medication to control diabetes is a huge benefit.

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