Exercise Is Great: But Why?
We are always told that we should be doing exercise and that it is good for us. But why?
When we exercise, it increases our heart rate as the muscles in the body demand a higher amount of oxygen and fuel, both of which are transported in the blood. The increased heart rate requires the heart muscles to work harder, and like any other muscle in the body, when a new stimulus is applied, the muscle can grow and get stronger.
The increased strength of the heart muscle means that, at rest, the heart rate is lower and is able to pump more blood during each beat.
This creates greater efficiency, in turn reducing the stress on the heart as well as improving general health in the process. Studies suggest that resting heart rate is a strong indicator in determining life expectancy.
As well as strengthening the heart muscles, other muscles in the body improve in strength and size. During exercise, the muscles in the body become damaged. The body repairs these muscles, making them bigger and stronger. For example, the day after a run or swim, you are normally a little sore and the muscles feel tight for the next few days.
This pain is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). However, as you keep on exercising, you get DOMS less and less. Your muscles are getting stronger and growing, as you are doing less damage and the level of stress you are putting your body under is lower.
You have more efficient and stronger heart and body muscles from exercise. But what else will it do?
It will also cause you to become out of breath, increasing the amount you have to breathe, from about 15 times per minute to 40-60 times a minute. This is because when exercising, the muscles will produce carbon dioxide, which the body needs to expel via the lungs through a process called gas exchange, which is the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen through the lungs wall. With prolonged exercise this process gets more and more efficient which is why you will be able to do more exercise without feeling as out of breath.