Health Tips: How The Body Adapts To Fitness

Understanding how the body changes with exercise over time will help you tailor workouts to see continued results.

Making the choice to begin exercising is the most important way to maintain a healthy weight and stay fit. By increasing the amount of calories you expend in a day, it is possible to shed weight and increase muscle tone. However, the body becomes a more efficient machine as it is pushed to perform. Thus, people may get great results from working out for several weeks, only to find that they have suddenly hit a plateau. They stop losing weight because their bodies have become accustomed to the new fitness level. In order to avoid this, it is vital to understand the process the body goes through as its condition improves.

A sedentary lifestyle does not just result in weight gain; it allows the body to deteriorate from lack of use like a rusty machine. All the bodily systems necessary for life cease to perform at their peak. For instance, weight gain is related to a surplus of caloric intake as well as a sluggish metabolism. The under-stimulated muscles, including the heart, lose tone. Clearly, inactivity is detrimental to more than just the physique. This is why regular exercise is so highly advocated. By including vigorous activity into one's daily routine, the body can be trained to function optimally. Unfortunately, even those people who find the motivation to begin working out can quickly become discouraged when they stop seeing results.

It is commonly said that the last five pounds are the hardest to lose. From a physiological perspective, there is a great deal of truth in this statement. The body goes through predictable phases as a person's fitness level increases, and a person who does not understand the process will never succeed in reaching their goal weight. During the first weeks of exercise, weight loss is impressive. Even though appetite fluctuations are common, with some people consuming enough for three of themselves in a day, pounds are shed easily because the body is used to doing nothing. Even the extra food has a scientific explanation, as the body requires materials to build new muscle tissue. However, these signs are only the beginnings of fitness.

Predictably, three or four weeks into a workout routine, the exerciser stops seeing progress. His or her body responds to the demands put on it by becoming more efficient. It learns to make do with fewer calories and learns to perform tasks (exercise) while using the least possible amount of energy. At this point in the routine, either a person needs to make changes or they will stop losing weight and gaining muscle mass. In fact, many people actually gain back pounds at this point even though they have decreases their food consumption. The body can function at its new fitness level as it did several weeks before in an unfit state. This is the time for an exerciser to give his or her body another push.

The body needs to be "kept on its toes." It is such a sophisticated machine that it can become accommodated to your comfortable exercise routine in a matter of weeks. Therefore, it is up to the exerciser to regular make changes to his or her workout. Demand more from yourself, either by increasing the intensity, frequency, or duration of your training. It is also effective to vary the types of exercise you do. Instead of using free weights, work with a machine at the gym. Switch your morning run for a bike ride. Any variation will utilize new muscles or make them work differently, changes add up to continued results.

An understanding of the body's progression through each phase of fitness is also useful. When you work out, you put a strain on your muscles, respiratory system, and cells. Immediately after exercise, the body is at its weakest point. Once exercise ceases, the body begins to recover by replenishing spent nutrients and building strength. With repeated physical challenges, the body will become efficient enough that it is no longer taxed by the current exercise and will need to be worked harder. The importance of understanding this process lies in the fact that forcing your body to skip a step can be dangerous. After a workout, it is the exerciser's responsibility to allow the body to recuperate. This means taking in fluids and calories so that repairs and growth can be accomplished. If the body is not given sufficient rest, serious injuries can occur in the form of torn muscles, pulled ligaments, and so forth.

The body is capable of performing incredible tasks. With sufficient training, it can become faster, stronger, leaner, and more flexible than most people would believe. However, it takes commitment to realize one's full potential and an understanding of the body's needs. By altering your exercise routine to keep it interesting and challenging, you can accomplish virtually any physical goal. Just remember to maintain yourself like a fine machine, allowing for rest and sustenance as well as work. In this way, you will have a healthy body and stunning physique for life.

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