A look at exercise by the minute, hour, day and week.
The minute you start your exercise session, the benefits of exercise kick in. We see changes in the body within seconds, your heart rate increases, and blood is delivered to your muscles. You start burning calories for fuel. And you get an almost immediate mood boost.
As you work out, your lungs are getting stronger. When you exercise, your brain sends signals to them to help you breathe faster and deeper, delivering extra oxygen to your muscles.
Your motivation is at its peak. Thanks to a flood of endorphins, you feel psyched and energized.
You're getting toner - during exercise, your body taps mainly fat for fuel when your trainer pushes you to go harder. The more intensely you work and the longer you do it, the more efficiently your body uses oxygen, and this boosts its fat-blasting power throughout your workout.
Within one hour of exercise you're protecting yourself against colds, flu and other everyday viruses. Exercise elevates your level of immunoglobulins, which are proteins that help bolster your immune system and ward off infection.
Your mood gets better. Mood-enhancing chemicals, like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, flood your brain for a couple of hours post-exercise, fighting stress and allowing more restful sleep/recovery.
Strength training at least twice a week will charge your metabolism so that you'll continue to burn calories, even at rest.
Within one day of exercise you're adding lean muscle. Doing a strength-training routine, your muscles are now starting to rebuild themselves and repair the microscopic tears that come with lifting weights. Adding lean muscle leads to greater daily caloric burn.
Your heart is healthier. One session lowers your blood pressure for up to 16 hours.
You are super alert and focused post-exercise. That's because a good workout increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.
Within one week of regular exercise your risk of diabetes goes down. The more you work out, the greater your sensitivity to insulin. That, in turn, lowers your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Working out becomes way easier, your VO2 max, a measure of your endurance and aerobic fitness, has already increased by about 5 percent. Translation: You can go a little harder and longer than you could before making the workouts less of a grind and more fun.
You are leaner. Cutting as little as 500 calories a day through exercise and diet will help you drop the extra winter weight.
You feel fantastic.
But you say I’m in it for the long haul not just the quick benefit: Long term, studies show that as little as 30 minutes of cardio three to five days a week will add six years to your life, according to research at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Do that plus a couple of days of resistance training and you'll not only live longer but also look younger, feel happier, have more energy, and stay slim.
Carter Smith CPT, NPTI & NASM
Bucks Strength & Fitness
806 Beaver St.
Bristol, PA. 19007