How exercise changes your body after a day, a week, a month
7 min read
Getting back into an exercise regime is rarely pleasant. But from the moment you start, your body begins complex processes to rebuild its fitness.
But don't let that dissuade you. Robergs stresses the importance of reintroducing intense exercise back into your routine because it offers enormous physical and mental health benefits. From the moment you start exercising again, your body begins complex processes to rebuild its fitness, and while change is slow, it's continuous, and worth lacing up for the long-haul for. On the day of exercise Exhausted, breathless and feeling clumsy? That's OK. The first workout is unlikely to leave you feeling as accomplished as you might have hoped, Robergs says. "You'll have the perception that generally speaking things were much harder to do," he says. "There's a lot of physiology that goes into that movement." First, Robergs explains, your brain is doing a lot of work to coordinate all these new nerve patterns to your muscles. "There's a lot of mental effort that's very subconscious," he says, adding it's why you have to concentrate when exercising. "It's amazing how rapidly the muscles adapt ... They become stronger and more tolerant." Associate Professor Rob Robergs, accredited exercise physiologist, QUT When you take a break from working out, your body shrinks muscle fibres and breaks down blood vessels in the muscles that are no longer being used. "The body is always trying to conserve as much energy as possible," Robergs says. It means when you return to exercise, you're fatigued because high demand is being heaped onto your heart and lungs to increase blood flow through your contracting muscles, but your body has become less effective at doing this. The upside? As your body pushes to oxygenate the muscles, this stimulates surrounding tissue to again start synthesising those blood vessels and muscle fibres you'd lost. Accredited exercise physiologist Sam Rooney, from Sydney's Ion Training, says you'll be spent even if you'd been exercising in lockdown but are introducing a new routine. "It will help but it's not the same, you're still challenging your body in a…