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What “Really” Happens to Your Body When You Exercise?

What “Really” Happens to Your Body When You Exercise?

 

There’s a lot of good and bad information out there about what exercising does to your body. Does it make you lose as much weight as you want? Will it give you the perfect body? Will it cure cancer? While some of these claims are over exaggerated, there is some truth in the fact that regular exercise can change (and usually improve) every aspect of your life.

When it comes to the body, and how it works, it can feel like a basic equation. Use the muscle, lose the weight. But it’s a little more complicated than that. There are a series of chemical reactions and processes going on when you exercise that do much more than make you lose weight.

The benefits of regular exercise can lead to stuff like

  • Greater strength (duh)

  • Longer life

  • More energy

  • Better sleep habits

  • Lower anxiety

  • Greater self-esteem

  • Better organization

  • Lower chance of depression

  • Reduced Executive Dysfunction

  • Stronger immune system

  • Faster metabolism

  • More endurance

  • More … a lot more.

So why is exercise so good for you? What’s going on inside the body that causes all of these great things to happen? And how can this information be used to inform your exercise routine?

Let’s start by clarifying one misconception.

Weight loss is just one part of a much bigger puzzle and should frankly not be the focus of your workout routine. This is where most people fail. We as a society put so much focus on weight and attaining this one perfect body that most of us physically cannot even attain. So we try exercising for a bit and we get frustrated because we aren’t seeing the right results.

The truth is that you should be concerned about your overall health, not just your looks. By focusing on how you want to look you ignore all the good things that are happening to your body and fall into the trap of feeling like you’re a failure. Exercising once is a success, exercising again is a success, and just because you aren’t seeing results doesn’t mean that you didn’t do anything good for your body.

What really happens with your weight is that you’re actually gaining weight - muscle weight. You’re breaking down the cells in your muscles and building new ones, these new ones increase your mitochondria, giving you more energy.

As this mitochondrion builds up, it gets better each time, and it becomes an effective way to keep you well energized throughout the day.

You also get increased blood flow, improving your immune system, and helping you set the right nighttime clock, and get you feeling tired at the time you’re supposed to sleep.

After about a month or so, you’ll start seeing results as your muscles get larger and tighter. You will start to see an increase in your strength at this point to (but not before) and you will be able to grow on that.

Research shows that your strength and endurance increases 20% after 3 months of exercising, meaning that if you run a 10-minute mile at the start, you should be able to run an 8-minute mile after 3 months.

This is how exercise works. You focus on your strength, your body, your energy, your goals, your health. Everything else, including weight, is a byproduct of this focus.

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