Understanding Homeostasis & The Benefits of HIIT-Based Exercise
A 20-minute stroll around the block offers very different advantages than a 30-minute Mojo jam session. Why? It all starts with one word, homeostasis. We learned about it in school, but most of us have no idea what it means. If you know more about it, you will understand the benefits of HIIT-based workouts, like Mojo Fitness, and why they are the key to overall good health.
I’m constantly perplexed by the vagueness doctors and medical media prescribe “exercise” to their audience.
“Exercise at least 4/5 times a week for a healthy life”. What exactly does that mean?? Food is defined as, “Any nutritious substance that people eat to maintain life and growth”.
All types of food will feed our systems, but not all food is equally helpful toward improving our health. A doctor would not prescribe just any kind of food to someone who is pre-diabetic, correct? They would prescribe a sensible low-carb diet that pertains to their lifestyle.
If you are looking to curb fat and ward off disease, the most rewarding exercise regimens are the ones that make us slightly uncomfortable, with a raised heart rate, fatigue-induced activity, and sore muscles. But unless patients know why this is beneficial, this type of exercise can make people very uncomfortable – and unappealing.
To help nudge you to take it up a notch, and entice you to sweat it OUT with us more often. I’d like to share some quick tidbits on exactly why challenging your body’s status quo, frequently and consistently, is the best thing you can do for a balanced, healthy, and long life.
It all starts and ends with this one word, “homeostasis”.
Homeostasis is the steady state of all our body’s systems, including body temperature, fluid balance, resting heart rate, and blood sugar levels, that keep your body balanced and functioning. The more we challenge that steady state, the better. Unless we do our best to keep a balance with nutrition and exercise, our bodies slowly deteriorate.
According to Stacy T. Sims, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist, and nutrition scientist:
Exercise affects our homeostasis by raising our body temperature, increasing the need for more oxygen and changes in our blood sugar and fluid balance. When we exercise, we cause a disturbance in this equilibrium by pushing our systems out of their normal resting preset limits.
How Exercise Affects Homeostasis
There are built-in mechanisms that our body uses to buffer the changes in our internal systems to maintain homeostasis (mentally and physically). Adaptive homeostasis is what happens during exercise because our heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output, and respiratory rate are adjusting to the intensity of our workout.
In a nutshell, if you are going to walk for your exercise, walk briskly with strong arms and engaged glutes/abs, for at least 30 minutes and welcome the disruption of a raised heartbeat and muscle strengthening.
Ways our bodies increase homeostasis during a workout
- Breaking Down Glucose for Fuel Glucose from the foods you eat is used up by your muscles for energy, and as a result, your pancreas reacts by changing insulin levels to maintain blood sugar. The more intense your workout is, the more oxygen your body needs to convert food (fat) into fuel.
- Increasing Heart Rate and Blood Flow During HIIT exercise, there is also an increased demand for blood to your working muscles, so our body responds by increasing our heart rate.
The more we adequately exercise, the more our body adapts to achieving exercise homeostasis. According to Dr. Sims, “Chronic exposure to this adaptive homeostasis is what we think of as improved fitness and health outcomes because the body adapts and becomes more efficient at performing an exercise.”
The best exercises to disrupt the body’s equilibrium and force it to adapt – aka. increasing homeostasis
1. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the most effective types of exercise for increasing homeostasis. HIIT involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest or low-intensity activity. This type of training can help to improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and build muscle.
2. Aerobic exercise Any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it there for a sustained period of time. Aerobic exercise can help to improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
3. Resistance training is another type of exercise that can be effective for increasing homeostasis. Resistance training involves using weights or other resistance to build muscle. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, which means that it burns calories even when you are at rest. This can help to boost your metabolism and help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Mojo combines all three & every single session is different (and FUN), so we are contstantly accessing unqiue muscle groups and eliciting challenging aerobic experiences.
For happier homeostasis, be sure to infuse these “adaptations” for increased endurance, muscle strength and bone density.
1. Stay Hydrated!! Drinking water during helps with maintaining homeostasis because it helps replenish fluids that are lost via sweat. Our body needs fluids to carry nutrients to our cells and organs to function properly.
Particularly in a hot and humid environment, consider a sports drink to help replenish electrolytes (salt and potassium) that are lost in sweat.
2. Breathe It’s a common mistake to hold your breath during hard efforts, but doing so decreases your body’s ability to maintain homeostasis.
3. Fuel Up Your body needs fuel to perform well during exercise. Make sure to enjoy a protein ladened pre-workout snack.
4. Warm Up and Cool Down
Avoid jumping right into your workout and do a quick warm-up to wake up your muscles and joints. After your workout, spend some time doing a cooldown to redistribute blood flow to your organs and improve muscle flexibility and joint range of motion.