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So you've just started exercising again and you want to know what’s happening to your body. You want to know that all that pounding of the pavement or lifting of heavy things is worth it. Well, let me tell you, it is! But what exactly is happening to your body?
[Exercise is] the number one best thing you can do for increasing your happiness, becoming better at everything you do and preventing illness or disease.
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One of the things I don’t like about my exercise regime as that I feel like I’m not consistent enough. I live such a busy life with 4 little kids, 2 jobs and a business that trying to fit exercise into my day is really hard. And I don’t think I’m alone in struggling with that. But it’s a struggle worth persisting.
There are so many benefits to exercise. It’s the number one best thing you can do for increasing your happiness, becoming better at everything you do and preventing illness or disease. In fact, the benefits of exercise begin the very first time you do it.
First session. During your first exercise session, blood flow will increase to every part of your body, including your brain. This will allow your cells to take in more oxygen and nutrition from the blood, making you more awake, alert and aware. Don’t worry about coffee to get you going in the morning, exercise works better than anything (but I’ll still have my cup afterwards because I love the taste). In addition to increased blood flow, your metabolic rate will increase, blood viscosity will improve, and oxygen flow rate will increase.
Note that if you do something physical which you’re unaccustomed to, or that which is excessive, you’ll experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). I wrote an article about this recently. Check out “Why are my Muscles Sore After a Workout?”.
After your first exercise session, you will be more motivated due to the hormone epinephrine being released. This hormone also blocks pain and actually makes you smarter. Your body begins to digest proteins and carbohydrates four times faster, as well as beginning to mobilise its fat stores. And so the elimination of body fat begins.
Later that day due to the hormones which are released, you become more confident and your self-esteem improves. Your blood pressure becomes normalised and your sleep quality improves.
After just one week of exercise, the mitochondria in your cells rapidly increase in number. Mitochondria is the power plant of a cell, producing energy for your body. It’s very important your mitochondria are strong if you want to feel good, look good and be good. Your body will continue adapting to the exercise you are exposing it to so that you are capable of sustaining it.
First of all, well done on sticking with it for a month. Habitual wise that can be quite tough to do. By this point, your heart and blood vessels are more efficient, the haemoglobin in your blood increases (haemoglobin transports oxygen through your bloodstream), your immune system becomes stronger, your lymphocyte count goes up (lymphocytes protect the body against foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses), your lung capacity increases, your nervous system becomes more efficient, the neural pathways that regulate your movement patterns enhance, your body regulates the levels of sugar more easily, and your body stores less fat.
Now you’re really workin’ it. Your muscles and bones become stronger. Your neural pathways will continue to strengthen and enhance your coordination of movements. This will have an impact on your brain, enhancing brain activity. Emotionally, you’ll be less prone to mood swings and better able to cope with stress. Your heart will actually be bigger and it will also be more efficient. Your blood flow and transfer of oxygen to your muscles will become enhanced.
Your bone density becomes noticeably denser and your mental health improves. While there is no exact timeframe it takes to create a habit, you will have certainly created good routines around exercise and healthy eating by this point. Well done! Your life expectancy has now increased and you will continue to look and feel younger for longer.
There are so many benefits of exercise, it’s crazy to think that not every makes time for it. From physical to psychological, exercise benefits our mind and body in many ways.
What benefits have you experienced from exercise?
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