Physiological Effects of Physical Activity

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Factors Affecting Physical Fitness & Performance

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Your Body & Physical Activity
  • 0:34 Respiratory Changes
  • 1:11 Cardiovascular Changes
  • 1:36 Musculoskeletal Changes
  • 2:08 Cognitive Changes
  • 2:32 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Frequent challenging physical activity does a body good. This lesson will discuss the ways that the body adapts to physical activity and the physiological changes that come from it. We will end with a brief quiz to see what you have learned.

Your Body and Physical Activity

How often do you feel out of breath during physical activity? Most people find themselves breathing heavily when they climb stairs or walk briskly. If you exercise regularly, you might find these types of activities less challenging. This is an indication of physical fitness.

Very generally speaking, the more frequent and intense the exercise, the greater the level of physical fitness. Let's take a closer look at what happens in the body during exercise to understand its long term effects on overall health and wellness.

Respiratory Changes

We mentioned that out-of-breath feeling that sometimes occurs with exercise and other strenuous activity. This is caused by an increase in the body's need for oxygen. Oxygen is a colorless and odorless gas that is in the air and required to sustain life.

The lungs take oxygen from the air and carry it to other parts of the body. During periods of physical activity, the body requires more oxygen than during times of rest. This creates an increased workload for the lungs, and over time, they get stronger and better. This is where the heavy breathing comes from. So, where does all of that oxygen go?

Cardiovascular Changes

The heart and blood vessels work together to transport the extra oxygen to the muscles in the body. To do this, the heart works harder than it would during times of rest. It beats faster and uses more force to send the oxygen and other vital nutrients and hormones through the bloodstream. This increases blood pressure and makes the heart stronger over time. Now let's discuss why the muscles need that oxygen so desperately.

Musculoskeletal Changes

Take a moment to flex the muscles in your arms. Do they feel tight and firm or do they feel loose and flabby? If you exercise regularly, they probably feel firm because exercise increases muscle tone. During strenuous exercise, the muscles use more than twice the amount of oxygen they do during restful periods.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account