Exercise is defined as any physical activity that results in the burning of calories. Exercise is essential for maintaining overall fitness and the health of the body.

What is exercise?

Exercise is any physical or bodily activity that maintains the body’s fitness and results in the reduction of calories present in the body. In order to be healthy, it is recommended by health experts to burn more calories every day than the total per day caloric intake. This ensures that one remains fit and healthy. Exercise is essential for the maintenance of both physical and mental health. Studies have shown that exercise results in the release of serotonin in the body. This neurotransmitter is responsible for lifting one’s mood and reducing cortisol levels in the body. Some of the most common health benefits of exercise are-

  • Improved sleep patterns.
  • Reduced stress.
  • Improved mood and disposition.
  • Improved immune responses.
  • Increased fitness of the cardiovascular system.
  • Reduced risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

Heart rate after exercise

Increased heart rate after exercise.

Types of exercise 

Exercises can be classified based on the goal of the exercise and the effect it has on the body. The various types of exercise can be elaborated as follows-

  • Aerobic exercises involve physical activities that involve intense muscular movement and increased oxygen consumption. Such exercises include- running, swimming and cycling. 
  • Anaerobic exercises focus on increasing muscle mass and directly involve resistance training. Such exercises also go a long way in improving balance and coordination, increasing bone density and strengthening the muscles. Such exercises include- weight lifting, push-ups and pull-ups.
  • Flexibility exercises focus on increasing the range of the body’s motion, improving joint movement and balance of the body. These exercises help in mitigating the effects of physical injury. Yoga is an example of a flexibility exercise.

Yoga poses

Yoga is a flexibility exercise.

It is also important to note that, exercises can be classified as follows based on their effects on the blood pressure of the body-

  • Dynamic exercises result in a reduction of the diastolic pressure in the body. Running is an example of a dynamic exercise. 
  • Static exercises result in an increase in the systolic pressure of the body. Weight resistance is an example of a static exercise.


Running is a type of aerobic and dynamic exercise.

 The mechanism behind muscle building 

The effects of exercising are due to certain mechanisms and processes that take place in the body which can be elaborated in a stepwise manner as follows-

  • Muscle hypertrophy and muscle strengthening are stimulated in the body by resistance and weight training exercises. These exercises inhibit the breakdown of muscle proteins and further stimulate the synthesis of myofibrillar muscle proteins. 
  • Following food consumption, an increase in insulin resistance is observed in the body which further prevents the breakdown of muscle proteins. 
  • In the case of aerobic exercises, submaximal endurance is increased due to the increases in oxidative phosphorylation induced in the mitochondria of the body’s skeletal muscles.
  • Exercise also has anti-inflammatory and tissue repair effects as it induces the production of myokines by the skeletal muscles. 

Nutrition and excessive exercise 

In order to stay fit and healthy, exercise and proper nutrition go hand-in-hand. It is imperative to consume the optimal amount of macronutrients required by the human body per day. If an individual’s nutritional intake is improper then they might experience burnout while exercising. 

Excessive exercise can lead to burnout when it exceeds the body’s endurance limits. This can be incredibly harmful as individuals might experience the following symptoms-

  • A drastic increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Breathlessness
  • Seizures 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Muscle tears


Exercise is essential to maintain the health and fitness of the body. Depending upon the sociocultural context in which an individual lives, the type of exercise followed might vary. Based on the effects of the exercise on the body, exercises can be categorised as aerobic, anaerobic and flexibility exercises. Excessive exercise and improper nutrition can have serious detrimental effects on the body. Hence, even exercising must be done only in moderation. 

Deepika Thilakan



  1. Vadlapudi Sai Lakshmi Naveena

    Thanks for the post. Useful information.

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