From Head to Toe: How Exercise Helps you Grow

Being active through partaking in exercise has many positive health benefits. At KidSport, we understand the importance that exercise and physical activity have on the lives of kids. That’s why it’s our mission to make it So ALL Kids Can Play. 

In today’s blog, I’m going to take you on a physiological journey through the body to see how physical activity and exercise positively impacts the different organs, muscles, structures, etc. Specifically, I will show you that exercise can make the body grow, literally, and figuratively. 

The Brain:

Starting at the top of the body, we have the brain. The brain is one of the most important parts of our body, as without it, we wouldn’t be able to have the ability to think or even function for that matter. According to Brock Armstrong of Scientific American, exercise can help improve the brain’s release of hormones to the rest of the body. Armstrong also explains that regular exercise can help to increase the pathways that neurons have in the brain. 

From a mental health perspective, exercise can help lower the hormones in the brain that are related to stress, says Armstrong. He goes on to state that regular exercise may even help to lower depression. 

To read more about the positive impacts of exercise on the brain, click here

The Lungs: 

After the brain, we have the lungs. Without the lungs, we wouldn’t be able to get the oxygen that our body needs to survive. On top of getting the oxygen that we need, our lungs also help us get rid of unwanted carbon dioxide (CO2). 

When we exercise, our muscles need more oxygen. During exercise, our muscles also produce more CO2. To help us bring more oxygen in and expel more CO2, we need to take more breaths than we normally would. The European Lung Foundation states that this means that we can take up to 40-60 breaths a minute during exercise compared to only around 15 breaths a minute during rest (i.e., sitting down). 

According to the European Lung Foundation, the more you exercise, the more efficient your muscles become. This means that with regular exercise, your muscles won’t need as much oxygen and they will also produce less CO2. In turn, this means your lungs don’t need to work as hard to bring in oxygen and push out CO2. 

To learn more about your lungs and how exercise can benefit them, click here.

The Heart: 

Very close to the lungs is the heart. The heart is your body’s pump mechanism. Your heart pumps blood through your arteries and veins. The heart and blood are very important parts of your body. 

As we discussed in the lung section, your body needs to exchange oxygen and CO2 in order for you to live. The blood is the transport system that makes this exchange possible. But, without the heart, your blood wouldn’t be able to be pumped through your body for the exchange to occur. 

According to Dr. Cash Casey, regular cardiovascular (cardio) exercise can improve many aspects of your heart including: lowering your blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowering cholesterol, and even decreasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

To learn more about the benefits of exercise on your heart health, click here

The Stomach (Digestive System):

Your stomach and digestive system are important parts of your body and overall health. When you eat food, your stomach helps to digest it into smaller particles. These particles have vitamins and nutrients that are essential to overall growth and health. 

According to the Active Times, exercise can help with decreasing heartburn, bettering digestion, and even ridding your body of digestive wastes. They go on to add that exercise increases the amount of blood flow to the body, including your stomach and digestive tract. Active Times states that having proper blood flow to your digestive tract can aid in better digestion and less cramping. 

If you want to read more about exercise and the digestive system, click here

The Muscles: 

Surrounding your whole body are tissues called muscles. Muscles are what gives us our strength and help us move. They also help us with maintaining balance. According to Mark A. W. Andrews, strength exercises (like lifting weights) can help make our muscles bigger and stronger. 

As your muscles get bigger from consistent strengthening exercises (i.e., weight lifting, body weight exercises, etc.), they are able to produce more power, which inturn can increase your strength and balance, states Andrews.

To learn more about how exercise can make your muscles grow, click here

The Bones: 

The bones in our body are our structural framework. But, much like muscles, it is extremely important that we strengthen them through exercise. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, it is very important to strengthen bones when we are younger so that they are still strong as we age. 

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggest two types of exercising that increase the strength of bones: strength training exercise and weight bearing exercise. They suggest that weight bearing exercises must be done in the teenage years as the bone strength built then needs to last the rest of your life. 

To learn more about the importance of exercise on bone health, click here

Conclusion: 

As you can see, exercise is so important for many different aspects of our body’s health. I hope you learned something new in this blog post. If you have any questions or think I missed something along this physiological journey, let me know by emailing me at student@kidsport.ab.ca.