What happens to your body during a workout


Now that you’ve kicked off your fitness journey and are in the swing of things, you may be experiencing a lot of changes with both your physical and mental state. A lot of things happen in your body when you work out that you may not even be aware of, but rest assured that they’re all very good things. From increased energy and awareness, to even a boost in your libido, physical fitness benefits more than just your physical appearance. Below, a breakdown of what happens to your body during a workout:

Heart and Lungs

First things first, you’ll notice a change in your breathing. If you’re going for a run for the first time in months, you’ll experience a higher heart rate and heavy breathing on your end which is completely normal and part of the process. Your body needs a lot more oxygen (from 12 liters of air a minute up to 100 litres of air a minute!) when you exercise and an increased breathing rate is simply your body taking in more oxygen to be delivered to your muscles. Over time, your body will get used to the change and working out will become easier. In fact, with regular exercise, your heart actually gets bigger, causing your blood vessels to become more elastic and your blood pressure and heart rate to lower. Change may be difficult at first, but it’s most definitely a good thing!



The first thing you’ll experience when you start a regular workout routine is muscle soreness. While it sucks, it’s perfectly natural to feel tenderness at the beginning and it’s actually a good thing. It shows that you’re making progress and the pain you’re experiencing are your muscles tearing and repairing themselves as changes occur. Fitness apps can be helpful in keeping with your fitness momentum if you’re second-guessing your workout plan but rest assured: Over time, your muscles will get stronger and more defined naturally as your fitness journey progresses.



The brain gets an incredible boost from regular exercise. Exercise improves oxygen flow to the brain, and will cause your brain to start functioning at a higher level. This increased cell function aids in protecting you from various diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even strokes.

Your mood levels will be elevated both immediately following a workout and long term thanks to exercise boosting the growth of neurotransmitters. Your brain will release endorphins and experience a surge in serotonin levels (a neurotransmitter that controls mood). Your brain will also experience a boost in dopamine, glutamate and GABA levels, all neurotransmitters that help in healthy cell growth and function.  

Your memory and learning capabilities will also experience a pleasant boost, thanks to exercise making the hippocampus more active, the area of the brain that aids in new brain cell growth. And don’t forget the pituitary gland! This pea sized gland attached to the base of the brain experiences a great boost during exercise, helping in healthy muscle growth and repair.


Sex Drive

You may not think it but exercise can actually have a major positive effect on your sex drive! Exercise leads to increased blood flow and circulation which plays a big role in increasing sexual arousal in the pelvic regions in both men and women.



Brace yourself; exercising burns calories and uses energy, making it perfectly normal to be hungry right after a workout. While there’s nothing wrong with fueling up post-workout, it’s important to the eat the right kinds of food in order to properly recharge your body.



The one sure thing you will notice when you start to exercise regularly is the change in your bowel movements. As it turns out, the more you exercise the more you’ll need to hit up the bathroom. Awkward, but true. And there are two specific reasons for it. First, exercise helps boost natural contractions in your intestinal muscles, hereby removing stools more quickly. Exercise also cuts down on the amount of water taken from your stool into your body, allowing food to pass through the large intestine at a much quicker rate. 

Natascha Bruhin