LONG TERM EFFECTS OF EXERCISE
Cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, energy systems
An effect of long term exercise is that the cardiac muscle (the heat) becomes larger, also known as cardiac hypertrophy. This results in thicker, stronger walls, mainly the left ventricle wall, this allows for a greater force of blood to be pushed out of the Aorta this is also known as an increase in stroke volume.
As the demand for oxygenated blood increases as intensity of the exercise increase, the amount of blood pumped out in one minute has to increase, this is another effect of long term exercise, also known as increase cardiac output. Also the number of red blood cells increases, improving the body’s ability to transport oxygen to the muscles for aerobic energy production.
Long term exercise increases the density of the capillaries surrounding the heart and lungs, allowing for more efficient diffusion of oxygenated blood to the working muscles. This is known as capiliarisation.
Resting heart rate is reduced as an effect of long term exercise as the heart is bigger and more efficient at pumping the blood needed to the working muscles when needed, this means that your body is getting fitter.
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.
The main effect long term exercise has on the respiratory system is that the respiring muscles, which are the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, become stronger, increasing the amount of air able to breathe in and out in one breath, also known as an increase in tidal volume.
As more capillaries around the lungs are formed because of long term exercise, gaseous exchange can occur more quickly at a much more efficient rate, meaning the blood needed to get to the working muscles shall be oxygenated quicker.
Due to long term exercise, more alveoli air sacs are formed in the lungs, creating a larger surface area for gaseous exchange and a shorter diffusion gradient for the oxygen to be transferred to the blood. Your lungs adapt to regular exercise by activating more alveoli. More alveoli can supply more oxygen to working muscles and tissues throughout your body.
Exercise makes the blood vessels in your body dilate to allow more blood to get to where it is needed quicker, this is also known as vasodilation.
The musculoskeletal system adapts from long term exercise in a numerous amount of ways.
For example; over a period of time the muscles being used are becoming stronger and bigger, this is known as muscular hypertrophy. The bones which these working muscles are surrounding are also becoming stronger due to having to adapt to the pressure they are put under through exercise, this results in an increase of myoglobin in the skeletal muscles allowing for more oxygen to be stored and used for energy when using the aerobic energy system.
The larger the muscle the more room there is for storage of glycogen which is then converted to glucose to be used as energy.
Another effect of the musculoskeletal system is that muscle fibers become stronger and fast twitch muscle fibers increase in size meaning they are able to cope with the lactic acid build up and break it down to reduce fatigue and cramps.
The main effect of long term exercise on the energy system is that the body is able to reproduce ATP molecules faster, so that the body can stay in the anaerobic energy system for longer, meaning glycogen stored in the muscles doesn’t get used up too quickly.
The anaerobic system also undergoes the increase in enzymes that control the glucose breakdown.
Another effect is glycogen stores, which 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.