Why does your heart beat faster when you exercise?
A heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood out of the left ventricle (LV) to the whole body. By contracting, the LV pushes the blood into an artery which brings it throughout your body.
The arterial system has many important tasks, but most notably, it brings oxygenated blood to all cells of our bodies and takes back deoxygenated blood (from all organs except for kidneys).
This way, vital nutrients can be circulated through your body, and carbon dioxide can travel back to the lungs together with oxygen-depleted blood. Centers regulate heart rate in the brainstem, sending signals via nerves towards heart muscles to know when to contract or relax.
A combination of characteristics about nervous system activity and chemical signaling regulates this process of “heart rate regulation,” which is just a term for the speed at which the heart contracts.
Chemical signaling that regulates average heart rate can influence your emotions, stress levels, medications, and lack of sleep. But most importantly, your physical activity affects how fast blood travels through your body and thus also determines heartbeats per minute (BPM).
It is known that intense exercise increases BPM, so it makes sense that exercising more intensely will make your heart beat faster (and stronger). However, endurance training over more extended periods can decrease resting heart rate!
Your body gets used to cardiovascular stimulation, and there are different interpretations of why this happens. Still, one theory is that with continuous cardiovascular exercise, you’re able to increase the efficiency of your heart.
When you start exercising, blood is drawn away from the gastrointestinal tract, so digestion doesn’t work as well. This is why it’s good to have a light snack before cardiovascular exercise if you don’t want to feel nauseous.
Also, because more blood travels throughout your body, some areas that are not used to this kind of increased blood flow may be tender or hurt at first until they get used to this stimulus. Due to all these changes, heart rate increases to make sure enough oxygenated blood will reach tissues and organs.
Increased pumping pressure on the left side of the heart stimulates baroreceptors which are sensitive nerve endings found on walls of the carotid sinus (the bony opening at the entrance of the internal carotid artery).
These receptors relay this information to an area in the medulla oblongata, and from there, it is sent to the spinal cord. If heart rate responds accordingly, the process of “heart rate regulation” is maintained, and you’re good to go!
This mechanism may seem complicated, but in fact, the whole process consists of many complex functions that all work together to keep our cardiovascular system healthy and robust.
So, even though we know that blood flow increases across your body during exercise because more oxygenated cells need energy (they get their power by breaking down glucose), BPM also rises due to increased cardiac output – the amount of blood pumped out per unit of time.
This way, your muscles can receive an adequate supply of nutrients, and there’s enough power left for the rest of the organs to continue their normal function.
Many factors influence heart rate. However, it’s important to note that the heart becomes better at doing its job with continuous stimulation! It starts working more efficiently and pumping more blood out during each contraction.
This way, your heart can deliver enough oxygenated blood even if you’re exercising vigorously because you’ve conditioned it well with cardiovascular training. If you want your heart to work faster, increase the intensity of exercise – good news for sprinters among us!
Also, remember that eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking helps keep your cardiovascular system in shape! The healthier you choose to be, the healthier your heart will become and the stronger it will pump blood around. And that can only be a good thing!
When we’re resting, our heart rate slows down gradually. It depends on thermoregulation which means that the warmer our bodies become, the slower our hearts conserve energy.
However, during exercise, this regulatory system is temporarily switched off. Instead of slowing down to conserve energy, the heart pumps faster to supply muscles with enough nutrients to function correctly. The heart does all these things by regulating itself according to metabolic changes during exercise.
Why does our heart beat faster when we’re exercising? If you’ve ever wondered why your heart pumps harder when you’re exercising, this is because more oxygenated cells are needed to produce energy. During continuous cardiovascular exercise, blood flow increases throughout the body, and oxygen in each cell decreases.
This is because, during physical activities, muscles demand more energy than usual, and they get it by breaking down glucose into carbon dioxide and water that will later be released as waste products through the lungs or kidneys. Because there’s an increased need for energy, cardiac output goes up, which means that the heart has to pump more blood out so oxygen can reach all areas, leading to higher BPM.