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The Effects of Exercise on the Body Systems

author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
The Effects of Exercise on the Body Systems
Exercise affects many of your body's systems. Photo Credit running image by Byron Moore from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

According to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation report, the effects of exercise on your various body systems are felt both immediately and over time. When you begin exercising, you'll be aware of more frequent muscle contraction, an elevated body temperature and heart rate and an increase in your breathing rate. As your body adapts to a regular exercise regimen, you'll see longer-term positive training effects, such as a larger heart, denser bones and an ability to breathe more deeply.

Muscular & Skeletal System Effects

According to the Merck Manual, you lose muscle mass, strength and bone density as you age, although your losses can be significantly blunted, by performing exercise on a regular basis. The immediate effects of exercise on your muscular system includes more frequent muscle contraction, improved circulation of blood to your muscles and an increase in your muscle temperature. Over time, with regular training, adaptations occur both in your muscular system and your skeletal system, states the BBC report. One of the most important training adaptations is an increase in the width and density of your bones, which reduces your likelihood of bone-related injuries, such as a fracture. Regular exercise improves the strength of your muscles, tendons and ligaments, which in turn helps stabilize your joints. It also improves and helps maintain your joint flexibility and causes your muscles to hypertrophy or grow. With training, your muscle endurance improves, which means that it takes longer for your muscles to fatigue when you're performing physical work, especially repetitive tasks.

Cardiovascular System Effects

According to a 1996 article in the journal "Circulation," you can use exercise as a tool to improve your ability to use oxygen and perform work, regardless of whether you're healthy or you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular problems, including heart failure. The short-term effects of exercise on your cardiovascular system include an increased heart rate and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped by your heart each beat). When you begin to exercise, blood is shunted to your muscles from other areas of your body, including your gut. The temperature of your blood increases and the blood vessels near your skin dilate to promote total body cooling. According to the BBC report, the effects of regular exercise training on your cardiovascular system include the following: An increase in the size and strength of your heart muscle, an increase in your cardiac output (the amount of blood your heart can pump in one minute), a lower resting pulse rate, a heightened ability to recover following exercise or physical work and a decreased likelihood that you'll develop heart disease. Other long term changes to your cardiovascular system with exercise include a greater number of capillaries (tiny blood vessels) in your muscles and increases in your red blood cell volume and total blood volume.

Respiratory System Effects

According to the American Lung Association, the principle role of your respiratory system is to bring fresh air into your body and remove waste gases from your body. Like your muscular, skeletal and cardiovascular systems, your respiratory system experiences both short-term and long-term exercise-associated benefits. The BBC report notes that the immediate effects of exercise on your respiratory system include an increase in your breathing rate and tidal volume (the amount of air you inhale or exhale from your lungs in one breath). The longer-term effects of exercise on your respiratory system help improve the efficiency of your respiration by strengthening your diaphragm and intercostal muscles (two important breathing-related muscles) and up-regulating your total number of alveoli (the tiny sacs at the terminal end of your pulmonary system where gas exchange occurs). Other long-term effects of exercise on your respiratory system include an increase in your vital capacity (the amount of air you can forcibly exhale after a deep breath in) and an increase in the amount of oxygen delivered to your body and CO2 removed.

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