Posted on 23 May, 2016

What Happens to Your Body During Exercise

By Jacob Andreae in Health, Personal Development What Happens to Your Body During Exercise

[Image Source: Fit Approach]

What Happens to Your Body During Exercise

Exercise is great for you. There’s no doubting that. It keeps your body in good health and is a key component for functioning at your peak. After exercise, many people claim to feel great, albeit a bit tired. This feeling of gratification is attributed in most part to the release of endorphins. It’s after exercise however, when the benefits of exercise are realised.

In this week's video, I explore the importance of the 5 types of rest that help your body recover from exercise.  Stay up-to-date by subscribing to JacobTV.

When you start out exercising, your body needs to adapt. Recovery is essential but so is being smart about your training. Recovery includes good nutrition, rest and sleep. Your body needs these things in order to repair muscles, restore balance and remove waste products. When starting out however, your body won’t be used to experiencing all the physiological processes that go on.

Endorphins are released to make you feel good so you want to exercise again. However, exercise exhausts your body and can leave you feeling tired and sore. Some people associate this tired/sore feeling with pleasure because of this accompanying release of endorphins. Regardless of how much you associate pleasure with exercise, you still need to recover. It is this recovery that allows your body to adapt to the exercise and enables you to do it easier next time.

When starting out, start slow. Give your body a small shock to the system and allow it to get over that. Then when you are almost to fully recovered, you can give your body another small shock to the system and so on. Note that I said ‘almost’ recovered. You can start exercising again while you’re feeling tired and sore because, depending on what you’re doing, this will assist with recovery and help you get over the soreness more quickly. Pay attention to long term tiredness and pain. If your tiredness or soreness is increasingly getting worse, you might be overdoing it and need a rest. Check with your coach or trainer and ask them to make amendments to your program as necessary.

What Happens to Your Body During Exercise

  • Skin
    As you begin using energy, you produce heat. Blood vessels close to the surface dilate, allowing greater blood flow, which can give the skin a reddish appearance. Sweat also covers the skin to promote cooling through the blowing of wind against your skin and through evaporation. As the sweat is evaporated, so to is heat.
  • Brain
    When you exercise, your brain immediately becomes more awake and alert. It releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Your brain becomes accustomed to regular exercise and switches on or off certain genes. These changes can protect you from certain lifestyle disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease and stroke.
  • Nervous System
    During exercise, your nervous system becomes more active, firing nerve signals at a much faster rate. When starting exercise, as in learning any new skill, many more neurons are recruited to send a signal than are required. As you become more adept at the skill, or exercise in this case, less neurons are required and the process becomes more streamlined. 
  • Muscles
    When you exercise you create tiny tears in the muscle. When the body repairs these tears, your muscles grow slightly bigger and become stronger. This doesn’t mean you’ll get big and bulky. It’s the type of exercise here that counts.
  • Heart
    During and after exercise, your blood pressure and heart rate increase in order to pump more blood, and thus oxygen and nutrients, around your body. With regular exercise, new blood vessels are produced and your heart becomes more efficient at this process. Your heart doesn’t need to pump as hard or as fast to get the same amount of blood around your body.
  • Lungs
    Your breathing rate increases during exercise. This means your lungs work harder and the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide across the capillaries occurs faster. The lungs are surrounded by capillaries with walls so thin that oxygen transfers from the alveoli (tiny air sacs of the lungs) to the blood stream and carbon dioxide from the blood stream to the alveoli.
  • Diaphragm
    The diaphragm is continually contracting in order to pull your lungs down and air into them.
  • Stomach and Intestines
    As exercise intensity increases, the requirement for blood, and thus oxygen and nutrients, to be delivered to the muscles increases. Blood flow to the stomach and intestines decreases as a result. This can lead to feeling of nausea.
  • Kidneys
    The kidneys allow more protein to be filtered into the urine following high intensity exercise. Water is held onto in the body resulting in less urine, in order to keep you hydrated.

You can only get fitter by exercising. However, exercise puts your body in a negative state. In order to get fitter, you must allow your body to recover. It is this recovery that puts your body back in a positive state and allows you to get fitter.

How do you structure exercise so your body can recover?

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

Subscribe to updates and get my eBook, Lose 10KGS, absolutely free!

What Happens to Your Body During ExerciseA quick start guide to losing weight and staying on track. Learn the strategies I use to eat and move for optimal health. Includes worksheets to enhance your motivation, commitment and discipline, along with a sample eating plan and exercise program.