Why Exercise Is Necessary

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Why Exercise Is Necessary
Why Exercise Is Necessary
Video: Why Exercise Is Necessary
Video: What happens inside your body when you exercise? 2023, February

Why does our body need exercise?

The physical and mental abilities of modern humans and their ancestors have evolved over several million years. The procurement of food energy has always been possible until very recently only through physical activity. This applies to the earlier humans getting food through gathering or hunting, but also to most gainful employment until the middle of the last century. It was only in the last few decades that living conditions changed significantly - especially in industrialized countries. On the one hand there is a large supply of food, on the other hand life can be mastered without major physical exertion.


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  • ">Movement is in our genes


  • Movement consumes energy
  • This is how movement affects the body


However, our genetic makeup is still designed for a certain level of physical activity. Only when a certain amount of energy is regularly converted through exercise will the genes and the organism function properly and the performance and health of our body will be maintained. Therefore: physical activity is normal, no movement is unhealthy.

Movement is in our genes

To be able to react quickly to the environment has always been decisive for survival: for example, running away at lightning speed in the event of danger, defending yourself or maintaining normal body temperature in the cold or hot.

The biological program for the adaptation of performance to the environment, which is necessary for survival, is millions of years old: The stress reaction, as the scientific term for this process is, still takes place in the body of humans and other higher living beings.

Movement consumes energy

The body needs energy for basic functions such as heartbeat, breathing, circulation, digestion, brain activity and metabolism. In the normal state, the energy balance is in what is known as "internal equilibrium". However, we constantly react - consciously or unconsciously - to stimuli from the environment. We are active. This causes a higher energy consumption. The body adjusts itself to a new "inner balance".

Only this biological program of the stress reaction enables the body to provide additional energy and - depending on requirements - to perform at different levels.

This is how movement affects the body

Physical activity is necessary for the normal functioning of the organism and for maintaining performance. Because: The organism adapts to the extent and type of physical activity of a person. Depending on how the body is stressed, performance increases or decreases or remains the same. The body systems function properly when they are used enough. The body, on the other hand, becomes more susceptible to functional disorders or diseases if the organ systems are not stressed enough.

The "exercise dose" is decisive: If the load is high and long enough, growth processes (eg in muscles) are triggered. On the other hand, degradation processes are also possible if the organism is not sufficiently stressed. For example: if a broken leg has to be put in a cast for a few weeks and cannot be moved, the affected muscles become thinner and weaker. After healing, the muscles of the weak leg regain strength through normal stress. Targeted training can compensate for weakness more quickly.

Danger! If the exercise dose is too high, the musculoskeletal system cannot adapt sufficiently. This can cause injuries to tendons and joints in particular.

The following examples show how movement affects the entire organism:

Effects on the musculoskeletal system

The musculoskeletal system consists of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Their interaction ensures posture and enables movement. Because of their better blood circulation, muscles adapt more quickly to loads than tendons, ligaments, bones or joint cartilage. Strong muscles support the musculoskeletal system, especially the knees, shoulder joints and spine. Regular exercise stimuli increase the bone density and the resilience of the joints.

Effects on the muscles

The more than 650 muscles make up around 40 percent of body weight - less for women and more for men. With the help of the skeletal muscles, we can actively perform movements. A muscle consists of many muscle cells that can be actively shortened or passively stretched. The myofibrils, the contractile elements of the muscle cells, are responsible for the contraction of a muscle cell.

How movement affects the muscles depends on the type and extent of the load. Physical activity with less physical effort and longer duration - ie an endurance exercise - improves the aerobic energy metabolism and increases endurance performance. Movement with high force load and short duration triggers a growth in muscle thickness and increases the power output.

Practicing individual movement sequences improves the interaction between the muscles and affects performance and strength.

Effects on the cardiovascular system

The circulatory system consists of the heart, blood vessels and blood. It is the body's transport system that supplies every single cell in the body. The bloodstream transports breathing gas (oxygen and carbon dioxide), nutrients, but also hormones or antibodies of the immune system. The heart is the pump, the blood vessels are the tube system in which the blood flows - around four to five liters that are circulated once a minute. The heart needs 60 to 80 beats (heart rate) for this. During physical activity, the heart increases its frequency (up to 200 beats per minute) and the amount of blood transported per heart beat (stroke volume). In this way the blood can be circulated up to five times per minute. The blood flows faster and delivers more oxygen to the muscle cells.

Effects on breathing

Gas exchange between air and blood occurs in the lungs. When inhaling, oxygen (O 2) is absorbed and when exhaling carbon dioxide (CO 2) is released. The lungs work like bellows that are moved by the respiratory muscles. Approximately half a liter of air is inhaled or exhaled per breath (breathing rate: 16 to 20 breaths per minute) at rest (tidal volume). Both the tidal volume and the respiratory rate increase during physical exertion. Regular endurance exercise primarily trains the respiratory muscles and less the lungs themselves. But the capacity of the lungs can be better used.

Note Exercise also affects the energy balance, the sugar and fat metabolism, the immune system, the hormonal system, the nervous system, the brain functions or the psyche.

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