• Peak For Life Team

What, Why & How exercise makes all of the human body and its systems perform at their best

Exercise has numerous benefits and positive effects on the human body and its systems. It can lead to a longer, healthier and more fulfilling life, with less injury, disease and sick days.

Exercise helps the respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, skeletal, muscular and hormonal systems to operate at their best, to make you a strong, fit and healthy person. They all work together for this to happen, and if one system is not functioning properly or to its best, the entire body struggles to work.

As simple way of understanding how our body’s systems work individually and together, is with the use of a metaphor, "your body is like a car". The cardiovascular system is your engine, it is made up of the heart, blood vessels and blood, and its role is to transport oxygen, energy, proteins and hormones around the body. The heart is the main pump, similar to how the engine in a car is its main pump, so it is important to have healthy working heart because without an engine the car wouldn’t run. With exercise, the cardiovascular system is able to take the oxygen and nutrients from our food, to our body parts for us to metabolize and produce energy quicker, to help the body perform at its best.

Our digestive system is our fuel tank, the car is fueled with petrol to give it energy, as our bodies are fueled with food to give us energy. And depending on what we fuel our bodies with or what we fuel our car with, will affect how well it performs. Our bodies are constantly using the macronutrients from our food to produce energy, and as we exercise these are used up quicker because we are producing more energy. We then need to refuel with more food because our bodies require more energy. Like a car, when it has been driven with a heavy foot, it runs out of fuel quicker and so needs more petrol to keep it running.

The cars computer is like our brain, it identifies a problem or situation and a light pops up on the dash to notify the driver to deal with it. Similar to how the brain sends signals to our body to release hormones when there is a problem or situation, to deal with it. Specifically, when we exercise, the hormone dopamine is released into our bodies, which can positively affect our emotions and decrease our stress levels.

Our bodies muscular system (made up of all our muscles) is the gear box for the car and our skeletal system (made up of our bones) are the wheels for the car. Your car can run with an engine, but without a gear box and wheels, it can’t move. In our bodies, our brain tells our muscles to pull on our bones, which enables us to move. They work together, just like they do in car for the movement to occur. Exercise, especially strength training and progressive overload, will make our muscles stronger, in turn with strong bones, will allow our body to perform at its best.

Finally, the exhaust of the car is our respiratory system, otherwise known as the huffy puffy system. If the car is used often, the exhaust will sound healthy, however if the car has not been used in a while, the exhaust will sound crackly and may backfire. Similar to our respiratory system, we have to use it through exercise, in order for it to perform at its best, in everyday life.

For our body and its systems to perform at their best, they have to work together, be fueled with the correct foods, and kept moving with regular exercise.

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