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How Your Body’s Systems Are Benefited by Exercise

By on December 10, 2012

Understanding how the normal functions within your body’s systems are largely dependent on and supported by MOVEMENT (exercise) is extremely important.

One of the things that intrigued me the most when I began my fitness journey was how much of an impact an active lifestyle can have on so many conditions.

It fascinates me how complex the human body is… how self-healing, self-repairing, self-restoring it is with basic things like nutrition, hydration, movement/exercise, and sleep/rest.

When you achieve a proper balance in your food, activity, and sleep cycle, your body can function more efficiently and you feel more energized as well as experiencing noticeable mood improvements!

The Digestive System 

…breaks down food into protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fats, which the body needs for energy, growth, and repair. The excess food that the body doesn’t need or can’t digest is turned into waste and is eliminated from the body through excretory functions. This is the system you should think about every time you sit down to eat something. Consider HOW what you are putting into your body is handled by your body. Is it fueling you or is it slowing you down, clogging up your arteries, and making you sluggish? Don’t put waste in your mouth! We already know how important our regular, everyday diet is to our health and we know how much a bad diet can negatively impact our health, but if you’re like me you may not truly understand all the benefits of ACTIVITY and how heavily your body relies on consistent exercise to function normally! Exercise helps to regulate your digestive processes by getting your intestinal muscles working through moving contents more efficiently through the colon.

{REMEMBER: You should never exercise on a full stomach especially if you intend to train hard! Eat a healthy meal at least a couple of hours prior to your workout or your exercise routine could actually have negative effects on digestion!}

The Endocrine System 

…is made up of a group of glands (pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, thymus gland, pineal body, pancreas, ovaries, and testes) that produce the body’s hormones which control things like metabolism, growth, and sexual development. Those glands release hormones into the blood and the blood transports the hormones to organs and tissues. The following is an excerpt of information paraphrased from an article I found on LiveStrong.com:

Exercise boosts the number of hormones circulating in your body and strengthens receptor sites on target organ cells. Your endocrine response to exercise can improve organ function, physical appearance and your state of mind. Vigorous exercise, in particular, might improve endocrine function. Exercise that involves intense bursts of energy stimulates the release of thyroxine from your thyroid gland and can help control or reduce your weight by speeding up your metabolism. Insulin regulates blood sugar by transporting it to muscles and tissues that use glucose for energy. Excessive insulin in your blood reduces your sensitivity to insulin and can lead to diabetes. More glucose stays in the blood when insulin sensitivity goes down — exercise increases insulin sensitivity by reducing blood concentrations of insulin. Blood insulin levels begin decreasing after 10 minutes of aerobic exercise.

Blood flow increases for up to 5 hours after exercise, delivering more oxygen-rich blood to the muscles in your body and building the strength of your heart. {According to About.com‘s Sports Medicine section, increased blood flow circulates immune cells through the body more quickly, killing bacteria and viruses and resulting in fewer illnesses!} Exercise-induced testosterone can increase confidence and libido. Low testosterone levels inhibit motivation, self-confidence, concentration and memory. Your pituitary gland potentially produces a five-fold increase in blood endorphin levels after 30 minutes of exercise. Endorphins block your sensitivity to pain, and can reduce tension or anxiety by inducing a sense of euphoria.

The Immune System

…is our body’s defense system against infections and diseases. Organs, tissues, cells, and cell products work together to respond to viruses or bacteria and substances that may enter the body from the environment. There are three types of response systems in the immune system: the anatomic response, the inflammatory response, and the immune response. Regular exercise has immense benefits on all of these immune system responses. After exercise ends, the immune system generally returns to normal within a few hours, but consistent, regular exercise seems to make physiological changes that boost the immune system last longer and helps your body to fight illness and disease more efficiently. KEEP IN MIND, however, that just the same as regular exercise BOOSTS your immune system, not allowing your body enough REST will totally counteract those benefits so be sure that you’re striking the proper balance.

The Lymphatic System 

…is also a defense system for the body. It filters out organisms that cause disease, produces white blood cells, and generates disease-fighting antibodies. It also distributes fluids and nutrients in the body and drains excess fluids and protein so that tissues do not swell. The lymphatic system is made up of a network of vessels that help circulate body fluids. These vessels carry excess fluid away from the spaces between tissues and organs and return it to the bloodstream. The most common way skeletal muscle is expanded and contracted to promote the processes of the lymphatic system is through natural body movement — EXERCISE. (Read this article from Benefits of Honey!) Muscle contraction promotes the flow of lymph to various lymph nodes throughout the body. Lymph flow increases by approximately 2- to 3-fold while exercising.

The Muscular System

…is made up of tissues that work with the skeletal system to control movement of the body. Some are voluntary and some are involuntary… They are divided into skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, and cardiac muscle. All muscle in the body has the capacity to expand and contract — some muscles help you move while others support the regulation of organ processes, excretion, lung function, and the pumping of blood by the heart. Exercise benefits all of these muscles in different ways and improves the function of your organs as well as increasing your body’s endurance and strength which can protect your body from degeneration and injury as you age.

The Respiratory System

…brings air into the body and removes carbon dioxide. When you breathe into the lungs, oxygen is passed into the blood stream. At the same time, carbon dioxide passes into the lungs and is exhaled. When you exercise, muscle cells use more oxygen and produce more carbon dioxide which makes the lungs work harder perform its function. This is why breathing becomes faster and the heart rate increases — so that oxygen is delivered more quickly throughout the body. As a result, over time the lung function becomes more efficient as the diaphragm other respiratory muscles get stronger. Over time, this process of providing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide becomes easier for the body and will occur more quickly. You will find that the stronger the respiratory system becomes, the longer intense activity can be sustained. NOTE: When exercising, it is always best to breathe IN through the nose and OUT through the mouth. Lung capacity is increased by deep breathing with slow exhale.

The Skeletal System

…is made up of bones, ligaments and tendons. It shapes the body and protects organs. The skeletal system works with the muscular system to help the body move. Exercise is ESSENTIAL to keep our bones healthy since they have almost no blood supply. Movement is what keeps the cartilage surrounding bones from drying out by assisting joints in producing synovial fluid. The production of this substance (which is similar to how oil lubricates an engine) is a direct physical response to exercise. When your joints do not experience regular activity (consistent exercise) they can lose range of motion due to repetitive drying out. (This is why when your joints become stiff, often just rotating the joint helps ease the discomfort — you’re producing small amounts of synovial fluid to temporarily lubricate the joint.

Exercise encourages the production of new bone making our bones stronger and denser which can prevent osteoporosis and fractures as we age. Studies have shown conclusively that people who are active throughout their lives are much less likely to develop conditions like arthritis.

In Summary:

The benefits of exercise on the human body are undeniable and it’s quite apparent that our bodies were designed to be active in order to be healthy. Knowing what you know about how movement (working out regularly) helps to support and sustain the functions the body requires in order to operate as it is intended, you should be inspired and motivated to get active! How do you plan to get moving? We’d love to hear your goals in the comments section below! Need some help? Join our Online 8-Week Virtual Boot Camp Challenge today!

About Kat Robertson


  1. Adriene Jones

    December 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Keep up the good work!!!

  2. Pingback: Be Your BEST Self: Complete the Puzzle! - Fitness Rebooted

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