What's Actually Happening When You Exercise? Our Workout Timeline Has Everything You Need To Know

Guess what?! From the moment you start your workout- regardless of what it may be- the benefits of exercise begin. Within seconds your mood improves, your heart rate increases, blood is delivered to your muscles and you start burning calories for fuel.

All you need is at least 30 minutes of cardio 3-5 days per week with some resistance training and you'll add years to your life and improve its quality! Exercising is an amazing way to look younger, be happier, feel more energized and maintain a healthy weight.

All this is great, but what is really happening?

While you are working out:

1)    Smile! All those feel good endorphins are being released so you feel motivated and energized.

2)    Just breathe! During cardio, you strengthen your lungs as they breathe faster and deeper to deliver extra oxygen to your muscles.

3)    Bye, bye bulge! During cardio, your body burns primarily fat for fuel. Up your aerobic intensity and duration to further boost your body’s fat-blasting power.

An hour after completing your workout:

1)    Immune System- proteins called immunoglobulins are elevated every time you exercise. These proteins strengthen your immune system and fight off infection.

2)    Mood- serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are released in your brain to help you mellow out and feel stress-free. For optimal mood-enhancing results, do high intensity interval training!

3)    Weight- you are burning off calories even while you rest. You can increase this after-workout effect by strength-training at least twice a week.

4)    Hunger- Exercise burns through your energy stores so your blood sugar levels drop. Make sure to listen to your hunger. Refuel and rehydrate properly!

A day after your workout:

1)             Muscle- a day after strength training your muscles start to rebuild themselves and repair the microscopic tears caused by weight lifting.

2)             Heart- who doesn’t want to make sure to maintain a healthy heart? Just one workout will lower blood pressure for hours afterwards. Go for high intensity cardio for the most heart-tastic effects!

3)             Brain- as blood and oxygen flow increase to your brain, you are extra alert and focused. Capitalize on this momentum to clock in some study time. Your ability to memorize is at a high post-exercise!

The week after your work out:

1)    Reduced risk of diabetes-The more you exercise, the more sensitive you are to insulin which lowers your blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of developing type II diabetes.

2)    You can go harder and longer- your VO2 max, a measure of your endurance and aerobic fitness, has increased so you can keep stepping up your fitness routine!

3)    Think thin- you get slimmer. Did you know that reducing your diet by 500 calories a day and exercising will help you lose at least a pound a week?

In the long term after working out:

1)    You’re so strong! You can lift more/ do more reps as your muscle endurance increases.

Quick tip: when you can do 15 reps a set, switch to a weight that's two pounds heavier and go back to 10 reps. Work back up to 15 reps and then repeat this. By increasing the number of pounds you lift, you'll sculpt and strengthen better and faster.

2)    You’re so fit! As you keep at it, you are exchanging fat for muscle and looking super good.

3)    You’re so smart! As you work out, growth-stimulating proteins in the brain are activated and you get more brainpower as new cells are formed.

4)    You’re so refreshed! Cardio workouts, like running, for 30 minutes a day for three weeks improve your sleep quality. 

5)    You’re so beautiful! Besides increasing longevity, working out reverses skin aging. Exercise keeps your skin youthful and even helps it regenerate thanks to the protein IL-15 that is released while you get your sweat on. This protein stimulates skin cell’s power centers, or mitochondria, to be fitter and healthier, making skin appear and act younger. 

After a year, working out gets easier as your endurance and aerobic fitness increase, your heart rate lowers, your cells blast more fat on an ongoing basis, and more!

Make sure to maintain an efficient metabolism through upping your workout intensity. Keep your body guessing with different methods of fitting in a great sweat session!

Although you can snag some extra benefits by exercising outdoors, such as getting more vitamin D from the sun, the most important thing is not where you work out or what exercise you do, the key is that you keep challenging yourself so that you remain motivated and consistent.


Author: Gal Shyli Dayan