The Effects of Exercise on the Body

The effects of exercise on various body parts and systems are often felt immediately and over time. At the beginning of exercising, one always feels the frequent contraction of muscles, the elevated heartbeat rate, breathing rate and body temperature as asserted by Sheldon (2011). As the body adapts to regular exercises, one develops long-term impacts of large hearts, the ability to breathe deeply and dense bones. Virtually all body organs and processes are affected by exercises as shown by Hughes (2011). From skin to the cardiorespiratory system, the cardiovascular system, thermoregulatory system, and musculoskeletal system – all experience the impacts.

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Harms (2005, p.124) explains that exercises have effects on the muscular and skeletal system. People tend to lose the mass of muscles, density and strength of the bone with age. However, these losses can be blunted by exercising regularly. Regular exercising leads to the fit body and adaptation of the muscular and skeletal system. Cardiovascular system is also affected by exercise that helps in improving one’s ability to utilize oxygen and perform in work despite having a heart condition. Cardiovascular system often experiences increased stroke volume and heart rate, increased blood temperature and dilation of blood vessels. Respiratory system is the third system affected by performing exercises as explained by Bigelow (2010). The effects include increased breathing rate and tidal volume.

Gender affects the impact of exercise on the human body as well. Females generally show low respiratory exchange ratio as compared to males during exercise. This, in turn, translates into a low rate of carbohydrate oxidation, but high fat oxidation rate. However, in terms of muscle glycogen content, there is no difference in both females and males as suggested by Heaner (2009). Muscle lipid content, on the other hand, is higher in females than males. Due to the differences in these aspects, males tend to have a shorter recovery rate than females after an exercise. They achieve high heartbeats in the first five minutes and immediately return to resting pulse after five minutes. This is evident in William and Sean’s records. On the other hand, females take longer to return to normal pulse rates, for instance, Anita and Gemma. Karen and Orlagh may not bring out the effects of exercise with regards to gender, because they are also affected by age and fitness status. Females also exhibit physiologic and anatomic characteristics that help in distinguishing their exercise responses from those exhibited by males. The factors contribute to the low maximal aerobic power in females. The differences have effects on the integrated respiratory muscle work, pulmonary gas exchange and ventilatory response during exercise as shown by Hughes (2011). Women, therefore, demonstrate higher expiratory flow limitation, greater hypoxemia and increased breathing as compared to men during exercises.

Age is also a factor to consider when discussing the effects of exercise on the body. Exercising regularly can improve one’s health despite the age. However, as one grows older, changes that affect the activity level of an individual are experienced. The mass of muscles decreases with age, and the level and rate of metabolism also decreases as asserted by Slentz et al (2004, p. 34). The maximum heartbeat rate also decreases incredibly as one grows old. Aging has effects on exercising ability in numerous organs, for example, lungs where there is often an increase in rigidity of rib cage, decrease in lung capacity and elasticity of lung tissue. To the heart and blood vessels, aging causes decrease in cardiac output and maximum heart rate as well as reduced blood vessel elasticity and high blood pressure. Webster (2002, p. 106) argues that the musculoskeletal system is also affected by decreasing its flexibility, mass and strength. This is evident from the data collected where the youngest people, Orlagh who is 23 and Gemma who is 24 achieve the highest heartbeat rate in five minutes. However, the others are much older, and their maximum heartbeat rates range from 138 to 150. The youngest person, Orlagh, being more active than the rest, is able to retain her normal resting heartbeat of 84 beats per minute in just three minutes, whereas the others retain their pulse rates after five minutes or so.

Tarnopolsky (2000, p. 313) suggests that fitness is a characteristic of healthy nutrition and regular exercise. Fit individuals are able to endure many exercises and long periods of serious workouts. Fitness combined with young age gives one a perfect exercise impact. Fit individuals often experience maximum heartbeat and enjoy retention to normalcy in a few minutes as compared to the unfit individuals. During exercise, one can only utilize the available oxygen effectively and efficiently if he or she is fit. For instance, William is a fit individual hence able to achieve a heartbeat rate of 132 from his normal rate of 78 beats per minute. To retain the normal pulse rate, he only needs five minutes, which is very efficient. Again, due to his age, he is capable of utilizing the available oxygen in the period available to return to normalcy without any problems. He is young, and this means that he has a large lung capacity with an elastic lung tissue. His cardiac output and maximum heart rate are also high making him achieve arresting pulse as quickly as possible.

Smoking has an effect of making it hard to get fit no matter how young one may be. It is evident that most teenagers and young people lower their performance in exercises through smoking, as explained by Tarr Kent (2010). Smoking harms the physical endurance and exercise tolerance of an individual. It affects the vascular system by raising the levels of fibrinogen, the blood-clotting factor, through its production of carbon monoxide and nicotine. It also lowers the levels of good cholesterol. High fibrinogen causes clotting of blood in blood vessels, which with time narrows the blood arteries thus reducing blood supplies to body organs as evident in Harms (2005, p. 127). A healthy vascular system is essential during exercises, because during this time the vessels often dilate and blood flow increases to enhance oxygen supply to various muscles. Webster (2002, p. 107) explains that lung capacity is also decreased with smoking since a lung congesting phlegm is produced in smokers. Exercise is better enabled in people with good lung capacity and function. Only bodies able to get enough oxygen into the blood stream and pass it on to the working muscles can perform exercises effectively. Otherwise, a smoker is not able to distribute oxygen effectively to the working muscles because of low lung capacity. The amount of oxygen used during exercises is also less in the body of smokers, mainly because carbon monoxide occupies a huge portion. From the results, William is younger than Karen and Sean, thus it is expected that he has a faster recovery time. However, the three have similar recovery rate of five minutes, because William as a smoker has a low lung capacity just like the older individuals. Anita is a smoker and older than most of the others; that is the reason why she has the longest recovery rate of seven minutes. Her recovery time is even longer than Sean’s, who is older than her but does not smoke.

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