Long Term Effects Of Exercise

By Scott Callaghan

Muscular System

For the Muscular System there are many long term effects that exercise has on the system. Exercise increases your muscle energy in several ways. One of these effects is increased numbers of mitochondria which means an increase in the rate of energy production. The muscles, bones and ligaments become stronger to cope with the additional stresses and impact put through them. The amount of myoglobin within the skeletal muscles increases which allows more Oxygen to be stored within the muscle, and transported to the mitrochondria. Muscles are capable of storing a larger amount of gylcogen for energy.


Another effect of long term exercise for the muscular system is Muscle Hypertrophy. The muscles become bigger and individual muscle fibres become thicker. Fast Twitch muscle fibres increase in size meaning they become able to cope with the lactic acid.


Cardiovascular System

An effect on the Cardiovascular System is that the cardiac muscle surrounding the heart hypertrophies, resulting in thicker, stronger walls and therefore increases in heart volumes. The more blood pumped around the body per minute, the faster oxygen is delievered to the working muscles. The number of red blood cells increases, improving the bodies ability to transport oxygen to the muscles for aerobic energy production.


Another effect on the CV System is that the density of the capillaries in the muscles and surrounding the heart and lungs increases as more branches develop. This allows more gaseous exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In response to the neeed to supply the muscles with more oxygen during exercise, the body increases its number of caplliaries.


Stroke Volume increasing is another long term effect of exercise on the CV system. Resting heart rate is able to slow down because the heart is now trained to pump a larger quantity of blood with every beat. The last effect is blood volume increases. The body produces a greater number of red blood cells in order to keep the muscles supplied with oxygen during heavy exercise.




Respiratory System

An effect of exercise on the respiratory system is that the respiratory muscles i.e Diaphragm and Intercostals increase in strength. This results in larger respiratory volumes, which allows more oxygen to be diffused into the blood flow. (VO2 Max) An increase in the number of capillaries surrounding the alveoli leads to an increase in the effiiciency of gaseous exchange.


Capillaries surround small air sacs, called alveoli, inside your lungs that capture the oxygen you breath in. Your lungs adapt to regular exercise by activating more alveoli. More alveoli can supply more oxygen to working muscles and tissues throughout your body. Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels in your body. Oxygen seeps out of thin capillary walls as carbon dioxide seeps in during respiration. Exercise activates vasodilation, which increases the blood vessels in your body, including the capillaries. Your body adapts to long-term exercise by increasing the size and number of capillaries. This adaptation makes the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen more efficient.


Energy System

Enzymes can assist many functions in the human body, including repairing or healing of tissues. When you exercise, enzyme levels and activity may change in response to your body's changing energy, digestion or healing needs. Exercise causes elevation in certain enzyme levels, on both a temporary and long-term basis. Cellular adaptation such as the increase in size of the mitochondria is usually accompanied by an increase in the level of aerobic system enzymes. By these changes it can allow athletes to sustain long periods of aerobic exercise. The anaerobic system also undergoes the increase in enzymes that control the glucose breakdown. Another effect is Glycogen Stores. These increase within the muscles cell and can then lead to increased duration / speed of performance.


Fat is a main source of energy during low intensity exercise. When glycogen stores decrease during long periods of exercise the use of fat as a fuel increases. Trained athletes can use a greater amount of fat as a fuel compared to non-athletes which can help in preserving glycogen stores for a longer period.