Something I have got into in the last year or so is exercising. As a teenager, I would scoff slightly at the idea of it and recall quotes such as:
The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll try it – Joan Rivers
But that was mainly because I would almost always get picked last for the teams in P.E if the teachers were foolish enough to choose such a brutal method for allocating teams.
Anyway, now I have a gym membership that I use and I go running. I bought some new running shoes recently and the amount I had to spend to get a decent pair made me a bit sad.
Something I am quite interested in is what happens to my body when I go for a run.
If you’re inexperienced with jogging the experience is not pleasant. Apparently, you can feel itchy! This is because there are certain capillaries that will be dormant if you don’t exercise very often. Capillaries are blood vessels that carry blood between your veins and arteries, illustrated in the lovely diagram below:
If you don’t run very often, when these get flooded with blood they swell up. This can irritate nerve endings and cause itchiness.
You can also get gassy! Your stomach breaks down food to give your muscles energy, once this has been used up your muscles release gas. This reaction also produces lactic acid, that lovely thing that makes your muscles feel like they’re on fire.
More expected side effects are your heart pumping and getting out of breathe, you know:
This is because your muscles fibres need more oxygen. You breathe heavier so you can get more oxygen into your blood, then your heart has to pump faster to get this oxygenated blood into the muscles.
You also get red and sweaty. Your core body temperature increases when you exercise. In order to make your body cool down, the blood vessels dilate so the blood nearer to your skin can be cooled down, which makes you go red.
After you have made yourself a gassy, itchy, sweaty mess who can hardly walk, you finish your run and get that lovely rush of endorphins. These chemicals interact with receptors in your brain and reduce the perception of pain, which can help you work out harder and for longer. They can also put you in a good mood, improve sleep and can help with mental health.
So maybe worth it, maybe not.