It starts from within…

Throughout my research for my paper, I looked a lot into what motivated people to workout and embrace fitness, the physical benefits of exercise, and also the mental benefits of exercise of being healthy.

We all know that exercise helps keep us healthy but what all does it actually do? Research and personal stories that have been shared show the incredible effects a healthy and active lifestyle can have on your body starting from the inside.

What Happens in Your Body When You Exercise?

The featured article in the Huffington Post highlights a number of biological effects that occur, from head to toe, when you exercise. This includes changes in your:

Muscles, which use glucose and ATP for contraction and movement. To create more ATP, your body needs extra oxygen, so breathing increases and your heart starts pumping more blood to your muscles. Without sufficient oxygen, lactic acid will form instead. Tiny tears in your muscles make them grow bigger and stronger as they heal.

Lungs. As your muscles call for more oxygen (as much as 15 times more oxygen than when you’re at rest), your breathing rate increases. Once the muscles surrounding your lungs cannot move any faster, you’ve reached what’s called your VO2 max — your maximum capacity of oxygen use. The higher your VO2 max, the fitter you are.

Heart. As mentioned, your heart rate increases with physical activity to supply more oxygenated blood to your muscles. The fitter you are, the more efficiently your heart can do this, allowing you to work out longer and harder. As a side effect, this increased efficiency will also reduce your resting heart rate. Your blood pressure will also decrease as a result of new blood vessels forming.

Brain. The increased blood flow also benefits your brain, allowing it to almost immediately function better. As a result, you tend to feel more focused after a workout. Furthermore, exercising regularly will promote the growth of new brain cells. In your hippocampus, these new brain cells help boost memory and learning. As stated in the featured article:

“When you work out regularly, your brain gets used to this frequent surge of blood and adapts by turning certain genes on or off. Many of these changes boost brain cell function and protect from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or even stroke, and ward off age-related decline.”

Exercise, in fact, is one of the most effective prevention and treatment strategies for depression.

  • Joints and bones, as exercise can place as much as five or six times more than your body weight on them. Peak bone mass is achieved in adulthood and then begins a slow decline, but exercise can help you to maintain healthy bone mass as you get older. Weight-bearing exercise is actually one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis.

(The information above and image are taken directly from

Cancer is a really scary thing and the word itself carries so much weight. So many people lose hope especially when their life is given an end date. When the doctors say something, it’s so easy to think what they say is the only option.

Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26 and was told that she had a five-year survival rate of less than 25 percent. Instead of giving up, she began to conduct extensive research to find a way to turn her life around. She found information on something called Gerson Therapy, which is essentially cancer treatment through watched nutrition.

“I began a vegan diet and focused on my fitness. I started weight lifting to help maintain my bone mass, running to increase my energy, and yoga to help with my depression. Running really helped with my energy. When I started, I could barely run for one minute, but less than one month after I got the official remission announcement from my doctor, I ran my first half marathon. I was also dealing with anxiety and depression. Yoga really helped me through those days when I thought I just couldn’t go on.”

Jen is now 31 and has survived and conquered breast cancer all because she chose to switch to a healthier and active lifestyle.