Find out exactly what happens to your body when you exercise (Entire biological process). See how working out changes your body, your hormones, and helps you build muscle while burning fat. Discover the beneficial effects that exercise has on organs like your brain, heart, lungs, and much more.
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Aside from breaking down muscle tissue and burning fat exercising causes a whole bunch of changes to happen inside your body. These changes will affect your heart, your lungs, your brain, your hormones, and most of the cells in your body. So today I want to go over exactly what happens during exercise step by step.
And one of the first things that your body needs for any exercise or movement is energy. So when you workout your body, and especially your muscle cells, will increase the demand for adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. Atp is actually the only form of energy your cells can use. And at any given time, Your body will only have a small amount of ATP sitting in storage. This means that more of it needs to be created to be able to continuously output energy. So after you quickly exhaust the small amount of ATP stored in your cells, one of the ways that more ATP is created as you continue to workout is through a process known as glycolysis. This process is what helps turn glucose into ATP. Now, Glucose is a type of sugar found in the body, and it comes primarily from the food you eat. Most of this glucose is stored in your muscles and your liver. So it can be broken down quickly to supply your cells with ATP fast.
But this isn’t the only energy pathway that your body can use to generate more ATP. At the same time that body tries to get energy quickly from breaking down glucose, it will also increase its demand for more oxygen because that allows you to create even more ATP. This is why exercise makes your heart rate and breathing rate go up. As your heart rate increases more blood will be pumped to your muscles to deliver that additional oxygen where it’s needed most. In fact, your body can need up to 15 times more oxygen when you’re exercising. And that’s exactly why you’ll start to breathe faster and heavier when you work out.
This will of course depend on the type of exercise you do as well. During regular weight lifting, your body will obviously need more oxygen than you would need during rest, but cardiovascular training will typically increase your body’s demand for oxygen much more causing you to breath faster and heavier when running or cycling rather than lifting weights.
As you push yourself and your body tries to generate more energy there comes a point where your body can’t bring in and take up more oxygen. Once you’ve hit that point it means that you’ve reached the maximum oxygen capacity for your body also known as the “VO2 Max.” You can actually improve your V02 max through cardiovascular training. The higher your VO2 max is, the fitter you’ll tend to be and the better you’ll be able to perform various forms of exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise. Not only does having a higher Vo2 max help you use more oxygen for energy, but it also decreases the amount of time it takes you to catch your breath after stopping. So if you have a higher V02 max you can take fewer and shorter breaks without losing your wind. On the other hand having a low maximum oxygen capacity, won’t only make you breath heavier but it’s also more likely to lead to spasms and cause the dreaded side stitch which will further limit your performance. You’re more likely to get a side stitch with a low Vo2 Max because when you breath really heavy your diaphragm, which is a major muscle that’s responsible for respiration, it can become fatigued cramping up your midsection.
Now as your heart beats harder it helps you circulate more oxygen throughout your body at a faster rate. This not only provides your muscles with the oxygen they need to keep functioning properly but this extra blood that’s being pumped to the muscles assists with eliminating waste products from those same muscle tissues that are receiving the oxygen. This is an ongoing process since these metabolic byproducts continuously build up in your muscles as you exercise. Examples include lactate, phosphate, and hydrogen ions. These byproducts reduce the capacity of your muscles to continue to contract and perform at peak levels. That’s why this increase in blood flow is beneficial – because it helps to remove these metabolic byproducts. Getting rid of these is great because that metabolic waste is also what gives you that burning feeling, that becomes especially apparent when performing high reps.
For the longest time trainers, scientists, and almost everyone in the fitness industry believed that this burning sensation was caused by lactate. But lactate is actually not what makes you feel fatigue. So when your body uses glycolysis to generate…