7 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Exercise

This is your physique on exercise. Any questions?

Everyone knows that exercising is good for you. But what, exactly, does it do to your body to make the grueling effort that you have to put into it worthwhile? Let's take a look at what science has to say. And if the research inspires you to work out, check out Bella Hadid's 15-Minute Winter Workout, or the muscle-building routine that helped James McAvoy get totally ripped.

Everything In Your Body Starts Communicating


According to a recent study published in Cell Metabolism, "exercise stimulates the release of molecules into the circulation, supporting the concept that inter-tissue signaling proteins are important mediators of adaptations to exercise." Basically, exercise turns the snail mail of our systems into bullet trains transporting important biochemical messages from one cell to another.

Your Body Temperature Rises

Guy working out outside

Your muscles need energy for your workout, so your body burns fats and carbohydrates in a series of chemical reactions that produce heat. Exercise also increases your heart rate and help pump more blood through your system, which is also what raises your core temperature. The fact that your body warms up as much as it does during this process is one the many reasons it's a great idea to exercise outside in the wintertime.

Those Good Feelings Start Comin'…

Fit guy energized without coffee

As Elle Woods once famously said, "Exercise gives your endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't kill their husbands." Indeed, she's right. Your brain perceives exercise as stress, and puts you into "flight or fight" mode. It releases endorphins, a chemical that is to block feelings of fear or pain. If you're on the treadmill, as opposed to being attacked, this results in a feeling of euphoria. Studies have shown, however, that working out 3 times a week isn't good enough to make that happy feeling last; you need to schedule in a 20-minute work-out every day in order to benefit from this mood boost.

Your brain function improves instantly

Couple running together one of their new habits

Getting your heart rate up improves blood flow to the brain, which helps your brain function better, especially when it comes to memory. One recent Harvard study found that exercise also increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory and learning, and that doing just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day was enough to help prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's.

More blood shoots to your brain

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The increase of blood and oxygen flowing to the brain makes your feel more alert and active even once the workout is over. Not to mention, the process of burning calories literally creates energy that helps keep you going through the rest of the day.

Calories get burned

muscle mass

This is kind of obvious, but the way in which it happens is not. Turns out, what we call "burning calories" is actually your body breaking food down into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), then converts it into ADP (adenosine diphosphate).

And afterwards? You shut down

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Studies have shown that people who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day had 65% more quality in their sleep than those who did not. Although research is still being done on the connection, it is believed that it has something to do with the drop in your body temperature after you're done, along with the way in which it de-stresses your body, can help you fall asleep faster and get through the night with fewer disturbances. Given that sleeping well is crucial to your health, not to mention a great way of losing weight without doing anything at all, exercising and sleeping are parts of the wellness cycle.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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