What happens to your body when you start exercising


Knowing that exercise is good for your body is one thing. Finding time to fit those workouts into your routine is another.

After all, it takes a while for all that exercise to start producing results, right? Maybe not. Research has shown that the benefits of exercise start almost immediately. Here’s a timeline to help you get (and stay) motivated.

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense cardio each week plus 2 or more days a week of muscle training that works all major muscle groups. This timeline illustrates potential health benefits of a comparable routine, from day one to over a year of consistent activity.

Day 1 During Your Workout

  • Your lungs get stronger.
  • You breathe more deeply and your body is able to better transfer oxygen to your muscles.
  • Endorphins are released that help you feel energized and alert.
  • After about 30 minutes of cardio, your body is burning mainly fat for fuel.

Day 1 Post Workout

  • Blood flow increases, including blood flow to the brain, which makes you more alert and awake.
  • The hormone epinephrine is released, blocking pain and motivating you. You may even feel smarter!
  • Any muscles you used for weight or resistance training will improve the ability to capture and store glucose (blood sugar) – great for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes.
  • Your body’s immune system is primed to fight off colds and other diseases.
  • You continue to burn more calories at a higher rate even after your workout ends.

Day 2

  • Your blood pressure is lower for up to 16 hours post workout.
  • You’re going to be pretty sore and stiff as your body starts to repair and adapt.
  • Remember it’s during this rest and repair that your body actually does the work of making you stronger or faster.

Day 3-4

  • Your body adapts quickly. The next time you exercise, you may notice that you can already workout at higher level and with less soreness.

Day 7

  • Your body’s cells are healthier, more resilient and able to produce energy more efficiently.
  • Your enzyme levels increase, allowing you to hold a muscle contraction for longer.
  • Your body is more sensitive to insulin, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • You’ve already increased your endurance rate by as much as 5%.

Week 4

  • This is when you’ll really notice the changes… Maybe you’re not as winded when going up stairs. Or you can get up and down from sitting on the floor more easily.
  • Your strength and stamina are noticeably improved.
  • Your metabolic rate has increased, meaning you burn more calories even at rest.
  • Workouts are not as tiring and you’re not stiff and sore after.
  • You’re able to increase workout intensity and enjoy a variety of fitness activities.
  • Your brain is forming new cells.
  • You may have even reduced your risk of breast, endometrial, lung and ovarian cancer.

Month 6

  • Your heart has grown and become more efficient (your resting heart rate will be lower).
  • Your muscles are visibly changed, bigger and more efficient.

Year 2

  • You’ve already increased your endurance rate by as much as 25%.
  • Your bones will be stronger with increased bone density and less risk of fracture.
  • You may notice mood improvement and less anxiety.
  • Your cells can break down fat more efficiently, which means more is used and less is stored.
  • Your body is now accustomed to regular flow of good hormones and enzymes that come from regular exercise – and you miss them when you don’t workout.

Heart Disease Risk Assessment

FREE 24/7
Loading locations...
Enjoy what you're reading?
Get hacks delivered right to your inbox!