Spring has sprung and now is the time we get a second wave of people joining gyms, starting to run, and learning to ride a bike in traffic! The first time coincides with post-New Year determination and resolutions. This time coincides with nicer weather and a desire to end up on the beach looking good.
But what happens when you exercise? How does your body adapt to more exercise? It is fascinating!
Your heart will pump more blood by becoming larger and stronger in some parts – so it will also beat more slowly when you are not exercising because of that increase in ‘capacity’. That’s why super fit athletes have such low heart rates! Their hearts are bigger, pump more, and are more efficient than those of us who don’t exercise quite so much.
Your lungs will be more efficient too – they will put more oxygen into each bit of pumped blood and take out more of the carbon dioxide that needs to be breathed out. As you get fitter you’ll breathe less intensely as well, which lets your breath stay longer in the lungs and take up more oxygen.
Your muscles will grow new blood vessels – to transport that oxygen and allow them to work longer without becoming tired.
Get out there 3 times a week and you will rapidly see your distance or time improve. That is what it takes for most people to consistently increase their exercise capacity.