Understand the Body and Exercise

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In the article, we are going to discuss some key points that affect how we stick to the new goals many of us made in the new year.

What happens to the body when we start to do physical activity?

We have all heard the saying that “A Body in Motion tends to Stay in Motion” which has to do with the inertia of mass and not really with someone’s exercise habits.

On the other hand, there are plenty of other sciences that give us insight into how habits affect people in both positive and negatives ways!

Neuroplasticity is something that a friend and I were discussing this week and it plays a role in today’s topic.

Brain Waves
Brain waves can make new connections.

The fact that humans can change the way their brains work, is a powerful tool in changing the way we think about our bodies.

We have the power to change our minds on what choices we make towards our diets and on the way, we approach our exercise programs.

We can change our habits, and it may seem like momentum is carrying us forward, when in fact, it is the way we are thinking about it, that is keeping us on course.

Natural Effects of Cardio

Starting a Cardio workout is increasing the blood volume in the body, typically this starts to take place in the same hour.

This happens by the kidneys starting to retain water, almost immediately after the cardio exercise begins, this is amplified if dehydration occurs during the work.

Maintaining the cardio will increase the blood volume by 20% in the first week, and in the second week, the blood cell production will increase from the bone marrow.

The combination of these two effects is an initial weight gain when starting cardio exercises. Many people do not think about this or just not aware of this physical effect from cardio exercises.

Scale and Measuring Tape are needed
to really see what is happening!

Another effect that cardio or other exercise is going to have is muscle soreness, which is going to trigger an inflammatory response by the body.

Swelling and water retention are natural responses to exercise; the level of soreness will coincide with how much weight is gained from water retention.

The good thing about this process is that after an amount of time; sometimes up to six weeks, this initial weight gain will drop off and the benefits will begin to be visible.

The reverse can happen if you stop the cardio your blood volume will return to the lower level and some initial weight loss can occur.

This phenomenon has happened to many people; without this knowledge before starting cardio or another workout plan, it is very easy to get discouraged and let negative thoughts take over your mind about exercising.

Causes of Muscles Soreness

When muscles are worked than what they are accustomed to, the muscle fibers are damaged or torn in relation to the extra strain placed on them.

This causes the muscle soreness or stiffness associated with a weight lifting exercise program. That normally occurs 24 to 48 hours after the workout.

Any type of physical activity can have the same type of effect as doing a weight lifting routine.

Soreness when stretching.

Activities that we do not do that often, whether it is from your job or recreational activities, can cause the same type of muscle soreness.

There are other medical conditions that can cause muscle soreness when no change in physical activity is present, like when there are infections or viruses causing illness in the body.

Some medications can cause muscle soreness symptoms also, but for this article, we want to focus on the exercise effects…

Effects of Attitude on Exercise

Approaching the subject of exercise; especially cardio, your attitude is going to determine if you will stick to the plan or quit.

Most experts are recommending lifestyle changes; opposed to just trying to gain some shortsighted goal of just losing some unwanted pounds.

Healthy lifestyles will include doing some form of exercise; most are suggesting that people find something that they enjoy doing. That is because of the effect that your attitude is going to have on maintaining the lifestyle change.

People that enjoy running normally do because of the feeling they get from the hormones and the “runner’s high” effect, which is like taking a drug for pleasure to them.

There are plenty of people who do not experience this effect, or the cost of the exercise is more than the pleasure response they receive.

How to keep your attitude good? That is the question we must answer for ourselves. Everyone is going to be different, but there is a common thing that we all can find, that is someone who will support you in your exercise goals.

We all have people in our lives that are willing to help us, and we also have people who are going to hinder us in some areas of life.

The key is to identify then people who help you in exercise and in diet changes as well. The two go hand in hand!

Make the plan a priority in your mind and go to the people who support your goals, this becomes much more important when you are having a moment of weakness and need to help to stay on track.

How to pick an exercise plan?

Choosing the right exercise plan is very tough to do, it is going to be affected by your age and your physical condition.

Someone in their twenties is not going to be satisfied with the same level of exercise as someone in the fifties will.

If someone starts in their twenties and never stops then the exercises, they do in their fifties are going to be different from someone who has let themselves get into bad physical condition.

The good thing is that we have the power of choice. We can choose to improve and set goals for what you want to happen by next year.

Sometimes we forget this, or even have done it so many times and quitting so many times, that we allow it to define our actions.

Choose to make it possible!

It is important to find something that you will enjoy and something that is doable for you.

All the Doctors and medical professionals say that we should get thirty minutes of exercise per day, that really is not that much, but how many people do not do that?

Being completely honest about this, I struggle with this myself, and the one thing that keeps me going is the knowledge of how much attitude affects our actions.

Keep looking and you will find the right activity to participate in that will give you the right amount of exercise.

Conclusion

For the many people who have made a new year’s resolution to exercise more, this is the 3rd week of the year and where many people will give up.

Hopefully, this post will help someone keep ongoing, with the understanding of how the cardio exercise, or the weight lifting routines, can affect your weight both in the short term and what to expect in the longer term.

Your attitude will affect what you do more than anything else on whether you will continue with your exercise plans. It is worth the effort to get a handle on it.

There are plenty of self-help books there to help assist you in building a better attitude and outlook on life.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post, I hope that it helps you in being successful in your exercise plans.

Please leave your comments and suggestions in the field below.

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22 thoughts on “Understand the Body and Exercise

  1. Thank you sharing this great information. after I readI this article I understand more about my body and exercises, totally agree with Effects of Attitude on Exercise, it happened to me when I try to start running and ending quitting.

    so for this year I change my cardio exercises resolution by instead of just running by running before I played soccer, where can I find a program for weight lifting?

    1. Thank you for your comments and good to see that you are working towards your goals. Being a soccer player your weight lifting program will need to be tailored for that. Here is a very good article to check out  Men’s Journal

  2. Hello Chad,

    It involves an effort for my body to move or perform a physical exercise such as jogging regularly in the mornings very early. Always with a full day of rest, it would be 3 days a week with physical exercises always trying to stretch my muscles. I started this plan 3 years ago and the only thing I can tell you is that I feel incredibly well and full of energy. I do not intend to abandon this activity and I can tell you that my medical consultations have been significantly reduced. Thank you for sharing very valuable information for all. 

    Regards! Claudio

    1. Thanks for your comment Claudio, sound like you got a good handle on your workout routine and know how it is affecting you. That is the key for people to figure out and then set that in their minds and keep it up. Appreciate you sharing your suggestions with everyone.

  3. This post made me realize that when exercising, it is very important to listen to the signals that your body sends about what is happening. These signals will tell you if you are pushing yourself hard enough or if you are holding back.  Unfortunately, interpreting these signals can be difficult, especially if you are new to exercise. 

    1. Thank you for your comment Seun, it is hard to know when you need to increase your intensity,or to back off. It doesn’t get easier as you get older either; starting to exercise requires patients and thinking about the long term benefits.

  4. Thanks, Chad for this amazingly detailed and informative post.

    I really hope that it helps some of the people who are in that magic third week of the new year, where they give up on the resolution to get fit.

    As someone who’s exercised all his life and who still lifts weights and climbs big hills on my bike, I totally relate to the importance of attitude. And I’m not “someone in their fifties”. I’m in my seventies!

    A positive attitude towards exercise and a healthy lifestyle generally makes a huge difference.

    But what I got from your article that I wasn’t previously aware of was the science behind it. Your insights into neuroplasticity were fascinating. As you say, we have the power to change our minds on what choices we make towards our diets and on the way we approach our exercise programs.

    Interestingly, other than bike riding, the exercise facet that I have most difficulty with motivation is cardio. Running on a treadmill, or doing a spin class or using a rowing machine is just so b o r i n g.

    That’s why I like HIIT. Five minutes later, you’re both finished and exhausted. And you keep reaping the benefits for hours.

    1. Thanks for your comment Phil and you’re definitely a good role model for younger people to strive for in staying healthy with your exercise habits.

      The inspiration for this post came from that conversation on the brain and how the connections are made when we make new habits or even learn something new. 

      Back in 2012 I started using Lumosity and it helped me in my reading, math, and problem solving skills that I use for my job, and now doing blogs. 

      But what was interesting is how the same thing happens in our brains, when we make our mind up to do something and then sleep on it. That is when the synapses in the brain make new connections.

      Glad that you enjoyed the article and got some useful information from it.

  5. Hi Chad<

    Thanks for the informative article, I had no idea that we gain water weight from continued cardio after a week! I am also guilty of consistent daily exercise, but manage to walk two or three times a week. I do try to get as brisk a walk as possible, but have heart stents and can’t get too aggressive if I got lazy. I know that bowling is not cardio, but is it considered good exercise? I do bowl three times a week?

    Thanks again, Chad.

    Chas

    1. Thanks for your comment Chas, anytype of movement is better than nothing, bowling is not cardio unless you are in real bad shape. But sound like you are walking several times a week and that is good. The Doctors are always saying to target 30 minutes five times a week.

  6. Thank you for this great and well detailed post,it was clearly explained in some simple terms, I also made a new year resolution to loose weights and burn fat through my exercises, I am still on the track and my muscles are now well built. Exercise is something I can’t do with right now Can you help list some useful exercise method? 

    1. Thanks for your comments and to address your question about alternative exercises, what has always interested me is the isometric and isotonic exercises. They can be added to a yoga type of workout and increase strength and flexibility at the same time. I read a book on resistance stretching that may interest you if you want to pursue this method of exercise.  Here is a link to it on Amazon: The Genius of Flexibility By Bob Cooley

  7. You’re a great writer.

    This is so true, as I discovered by accident. I used to only hit the gym at night. About a year ago, I got a new job with later hours and was way too tired to work out afterward. I took a week to gradually began waking up 2 hours earlier, to train in the morning.

    I wasn’t expecting the amazing ways this totally changed my life. Not only did I gain strength and endurance, psychologically the anxiety I suffered from completely vanished, I now head into the workday with a great sense of accomplishment and feeling great in my body, and my ability to stay focused and productivity skyrocketed. I’m literally in a calm, focused mood all day.

    Also, the amount of sleep I need to feel fully rested decreased from 9 hours to 7.5, and the quality of it improved.

    Have a nice day,

    Leo

    1. Thank you Leo for sharing your experiences with working out. Many times schedules get in the way of people maintaining their workout commitments. Your story is inspiring to those who are thinking about what to do next.

      Being a shift worker for many years, and working 70 to 80 hours weeks for very long periods has its challenges when it comes to sticking to a plan. Your comments give a different method to look at.

  8. Good day,

    This post is really helpful, I exercise myself everyday and I understand what you mean by our mind control our abilities. Understand one’s body in relation to exercise is quite essential to inspire us. Workouts, weight lifting routine all relies on our attitude and belief towards it. Thanks for sharing with us this Golden advice and tips.

    Have a nice day!

    1. Thank you for your comment and glad that you got some useful information from this article. Mind over matter in most cases especially if we choose a plan that is doable. 

  9. I’ve definitely found that one of the best ways to make sure you follow through on your exercise plan is to find an exercise buddy that will go to the gym with you. If you can do exercises together, like playing racquetball, then even better.

    But it will help too even if the person you go with goes off and does their own thing! Another huge piece of committing to an exercise routine is writing down your goal and telling as many people as you know! Psychologically we are much more likely to follow through if we’ve told people our goals.

    Good luck on week three everyone!

    1. Thanks for your comment Craig, sounds like you are very familiar with the routine and I like that plan to get a workout buddy to help hold you accountable! 

  10. Very useful article! I didn’t even know about blood volume and I think it’s an information that helps to understand what happen during the first week. It happened to me when I started to go to gym and I felt right like the things described in the article and having a clear explanation would have been useful to understand what was happening!

    1. Thanks for your comments, this information is something that many people do not know. It is all part of the cycle that people go through when starting and stopping exercise routines. Hopefully being familiar with this will assist someone in having more success with their goals.

  11. Wow, I love that statement, a body in motion stays in motion. I believe that the more we exercise, the longer we add to our strength. The beauty of exercise is not in just doing it anytime but it’s in its consistency. For it to work for you, you have to maintain a routine and be consistent. Even when switching routines, it should be when you’ve completed your current one. 

    1. Thanks for your comments and suggestions. Many people have a difficult time sticking to their plans and it is true you must stay with it in order to receive the benefits. 

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