5 Weird Things That Happen When You Get More Exercise
You may be one of those people who genuinely enjoys getting a work out, someone who suffers through cardio strictly for the health benefits, or a person who avoids exercise as much as humanly possible; but no matter where you stand when it comes to enthusiasm for exercise, you probably know that exercise changes your body for the better. Regular exercise can help us lengthen our lifespans, lower our chances of developing certain cancers, increase our sex drives, amp up our motivation, and basically make every area of our lives healthier. Exercise is essentially medicine, and since you don't need a gym membership to exercise, it's basically free medicine, to boot. We know this — but what you may not know is why these changes happen when we start exercising more.
I mean, I'm sure you're aware that lifting weights tends to make your muscles grow, and exercising regularly can transform everything from your butt to your mood. But knowing why exercise affects our bodies and brains the way it does is different than simply observing the changes — and understanding how exercise changes you might get you more interested in working out, too.
And if you've recently started working out more than usual, you might want know what's going on in your body when all the weird (but good) side effects of working out more start to become noticeable. So check out these five weird things exercising more does to your body.
1. Your Muscles Tear & It's Not Even A Bad Thing
You know that sore feeling you get the day after you hit the gym for the first time in months? Well, that soreness is actually your muscles working to repair all the little rips you created during your last workout. Evidently, when you start working out more, your muscles actually form tiny tears which help them grow bigger and stronger as they heal. So basically, even when you're safely lifting weights, you're tearing your muscles — but it's good for you. Strange, right?
2. Your Food Gets Digested Faster
Here's the deal: exercise cuts down on the time it takes for the food you eat to pass through your large intestine. In turn, this limits the amount of water that gets absorbed from your stool into your body. The less water that your body takes from your stool, the easier it is for you to pass it, and the more regular your bowels become.
Additionally, exercise speeds up your breathing and your heart rate, which helps kick-start the natural contractions of your intestinal muscles. When your intestinal muscles are contracting like they're supposed to, it helps your body move poops out more quickly. So if you struggle with, um, regularity, hitting the gym is a natural cure.
3. Your Brain Starts Functioning Differently
When you exercise, your brain immediately starts to function at a higher level because exercise causes increased blood flow to the brain. This is why exercise helps us feel more alert and focused both during and after our workouts.
Additionally, when you start exercising regularly, your brain grows so accustomed to the increased blood flow it gets during exercise that it actually starts to adapt by turning certain genes on or off. Incidentally, many of these brain changes actually work to protect frequent exercisers from diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, while simultaneously reducing their risk of stroke.
4. You Burn More Calories, So You Get Hungry More Often
When you exercise, your body burns calories. So, unsurprisingly, the more you exercise, the more your appetite grows — even when you haven't just had a workout. And that's OK. We live in a world that tries to shame women over their appetites, but having a strong appetite is a normal part of exercising frequently.
5. Your Sex Drive Gets A Major Boost
During and after exercise, your blood flow increases — and it increases everywhere. Consequently, all that pumping blood allows for our erectile tissue (yes, ladies have that, too! It's just internal) to fill with blood, which leads to major horniness. Good circulation plays a huge role in sexual arousal, and since regular exercise increases circulation, it also increases sex drive. Which, come to think of it, is also a pretty decent form of exercise.