Internal Adaptations to Exercise…

We all know exercise is good for our body and we should be moving more. However, when you can’t physically see significant changes it can be hard to stay motivated and really stay committed to your workout routine. This is why we have to remember that even though it may be a slow external transformation, there are many more adaptations and changes that are happening within your body.

As we increase the amount of aerobic or endurance exercise that we do, the number of capillaries surrounding our muscles rises, meaning that blood can be delivered more efficiently. Also, the mitochondria (the energy powerhouse) numbers within the muscles increases, meaning more energy is readily available to be delivered at demand. This results in greater endurance, strength and resistance to fatigue.

Furthermore, your heart will get bigger! The increase in heart size allows more room for it to fill with oxygenated blood. Therefore, every beat your heart makes your body is delivering more oxygen to your muscles and therefore more energy. You may notice your resting heart rate will gradually drop over time too! This is a sign your heart is getting more conditioned and has to work less to deliver the blood to your body; if you notice this then keep at it!

If you are more focused on resistance training, the continuous contractions are promoting micro tearing or splitting in the muscle fibres. As they start to repair after exercise, they will generate more muscle fibres and store more glycogen – leading to increased muscle size and strength. However, ceasing a particular workout routine will revert these positive changes resulting in deconditioning and will make you more prone to injury – so don’t stop now.

Another adaptation is that your bone density will increase due to the continuous muscle pull during training. This leads to increased bone mass and strength, and helps prevent bone breaks and conditions like osteoporosis. Regular exercise also stretches the connective tissues binding bones to muscles and reinforces joints. This will increase overall flexibility and will result in less injuries allowing us to stay active and well.

Finally, regular exercise also can boost your immune system by increasing your white blood cell count. This means you can fight of infections and illnesses that come your way more proficiently. Also, during exercise you are flushing out bacteria in your airways, helping prevent common colds.

If you would like to know more about how your body is benefiting from exercise, please contact to speak to one of our friendly Accredited Exercise Physiologists.


Taylor Downes (Exercise Physiologist)


Marieb, E. N., & Hoehn, K. (2007). Human anatomy and physiology (7th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.