Leading a more active lifestyle takes time, effort, and determination, but in the end, it’s worth the shot. Here’s what happens to your body when you exercise regularly.
During that first workout, you might feel more alert and energised because ramping up your heart rate means a boost in overall blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
Over the next few weeks, you’ll slowly start to ramp up production of mitochondria via a process called mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondria are the parts of your cells that convert carbs, fat, and protein into fuel that your muscles use to do their job, like flex and contract. After six to eight weeks, studies have shown that people can increase their mitochondria by up to 50%. With more mitochondria in your cells, you’ll start to feel more fit, and your endurance will increase.
Once you’re six months in, all that hard work should finally start to show. If your workouts focus on strength training, you’ll notice your muscles begin to take shape. You’re also less likely to fall off the workout wagon.
If you’re more focused on cardio, then by nine months of regular exercise you should see about a 25% increase in your VO2 max. VO2 max is often used as a measure of fitness and refers to the rate your body can transport oxygen to your muscles for fuel. Basically, higher VO2 max means you can run faster for longer. So a 25% increase in VO2 max, for example, means you can run about 20% farther in the same amount of time.
After one year of regular exercise, your bones will be denser, which reduces your risk of osteoporosis. In fact, researchers have found that regular resistance training, when combined with aerobic exercise, can reverse the effects of osteoporosis after 12 months. You’ll also be at a lower risk of developing arthritis, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and certain types of cancer like breast and colon. Also exercise lowers the risk of anxiety and depression by reducing levels of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline.