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The Effect of Exercise on Homeostasis

author image Chris Sherwood
Chris Sherwood is a professional journalist who after years in the health administration field and writing health and wellness articles turned towards organic sustainable gardening and food education. He now owns and operates an organic-method small farm focusing his research and writing on both organic gardening methods and hydroponics.
The Effect of Exercise on Homeostasis
People are exercising on a stationary bike. Photo Credit XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images

Whether you're awake or asleep, your body is constantly maintaining a state of balance known as homeostasis. When you exercise, you create a wide range of effects on the systems of your body, as each system strives to help create enough energy to continue exercising, as well as help the body recover after exercise. This state of energy creation and use has multiple effects on your body's homeostasis including increased heart rate, breathing and sweat rate.

Increased Oxygen Consumption

Exercise increases the use of energy by your muscles, which activates a series of reactions to create new energy to keep exercising and maintain homeostasis. The first reaction that occurs is an increase in your breathing rate. Energy creation requires significant oxygen. The only way to provide the necessary oxygen is to increase the speed at which your respiratory system is introducing it into your bloodstream. The harder you exercise, the more energy is used, resulting in your body increasing your breathing rate even more to maintain adequate energy levels for balance.

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Increased Oxygen Delivery

Once oxygen is deposited into the bloodstream by the lungs, the body must also increase your heart rate to deliver oxygen to the cells to once again maintain homeostasis. The increase in heart rate boosts the speed at which your arteries and capillaries can deliver oxygen to needy cells. It also increases how fast these blood vessels can deliver the broken-down components of recent foods you have consumed. Both products are necessary for energy creation to occur through aerobic respiration.

Increased Body Temperature

After energy is created, exercise continues to affect homeostasis by increasing your body temperature. Energy creation produces three main products -- water, carbon dioxide and heat. Typically, the heat created from aerobic respiration is used to maintain a balanced body temperature of about 98.6 degrees. However, the increased rate of energy production during exercise often creates more heat than is necessary. This means your body has to somehow release this heat to prevent your temperature from becoming dangerously high. To maintain homeostasis, your body activates the sweating process, which helps remove the heat from your body and release it into the surrounding environment.

Increased Release of Carbon Dioxide

Along with increasing the amount of oxygen available in the bloodstream, your body must also get rid of carbon dioxide from your blood at a similar rate. When your cells make energy, they produce carbon dioxide as a waste product. This carbon dioxide is transported back into the bloodstream, where it flows through the veins back to your lungs. Your lungs then exhale the carbon dioxide out of the body. To maintain balance, your breathing rate must continue to stay at an elevated level so your lungs can expel the excess carbon dioxide being produced by the muscle cells during exercise. Once you stop exercising and the cells return to normal energy needs, less carbon dioxide is created, allowing your breathing rate to return to normal.

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