The moment you begin your workout, every part of your body is working together to make your movements effective. For instance, your heart will begin to beat faster in order to pump blood to your muscles, while your digestive system slows down, not being the body’s main priority. The first ten minutes you immediately feel the changes, your heart pounds, your muscles tighten up and your breath feels shallow. Fortunately, once you have hurdled that initial shock to your body – your workout will seem as comfortable as an evening stroll.
“The body follows the mind”
Staying in motion, will require commitment and dedication. Especially when you first begin your daily exercise regimen. There is actually something happening inside of you beyond the simple inertia – when you choose movement – fitness.
Your body is attempting to accomplish three main things;
- increase oxygen flow
- eliminate metabolic wastes
- eliminate heat
As a result of trying to make all three of those things happen, your body creates something called ATP. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the basis of function for your body.
Depending on what workout you are doing, your body will kick into on of the three states;
- phosphagen system
- glycogen/lactic acid system
- aerobic respiration system
Let’s go through it.
Phosphagen System: In this state, every one of your cells has enough ATP to last 5-15 seconds. It is crucial because it helps you react immediately in any situation. Such as running away, or throwing a punch. Within the first few seconds of intense physical movement – your body is ready to react.
Glycogen/Lactic Acid System: Since 5-15 seconds of physical movement gets used up quickly, your muscles do have a reserve called glycogen, made up of a chain of glucose molecules. It takes 12 different chemical reactions to create ATP – a slow process that lasts for about 90 seconds. This state doesn’t last very long because of the lactic acid build-up, a soreness or burn that is felt in the first minute of high intensity movement. Sprinters use this system the most.
Aerobic Respiration System: A workout lasting over two minutes your body realizes that you’ll not be stopping anytime soon – it responds with oxygen, an aerobic respiration. It helps break down glucose into carbon dioxide and water. Glucose is available from glycogen in your muscles through the blood stream, and from the food in the intestines. Aerobic respiration allows you to work out for a much longer time, then that of the first two systems. Gathering its energy from carbs, fats and if necessary – protein.
Our bodies will naturally know which system to use when we work out. Professional athletes will train specific systems to improve in their sport. Understanding each system will also allow us to manipulate our routine to match.
… but what’s happening to the rest of our body, when we start to move?
Blood Our blood flow increases as your body supplies additional blood cells to your rapidly beating heart.
Skin During your work out your body is trying its best to release heat. Blood vessels dilate, bring heat towards the skin, and then release it. That is why your skin feels warm – it is your body’s way of releasing its internal heat.
Muscles The system to gain energy and ATP as mentioned above, there are “micro tears” that occur during your workouts – don’t worry these tiny tears take a day or two to rebuild. The tears explain why your muscles feel sore – the rebuilding is how they become stronger over time.
Lungs VO2 Max is a term you may have heard around the gym, and it represents the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can use. When you work out, your lungs work quickly to take in all the oxygen that your body requires. Over time, as you get more fit, you’ll begin to notice that your V02 Max will increase.
Heart Working out for more than two minutes takes your body into aerobic respiration? This means that oxygen is needed throughout the whole body. As a result, your heart rate will increase to efficiently move the oxygen to your muscles.
Brain The extra blood and oxygen helps you become more alert, awake, and focused. It releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones in our body.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day, of activity to stay Heart Healthy.