What physiological responses are there to endurance training?

Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Endurance training is when you exercise to increase the amount of time your cardiovascular system and muscles can work without getting tired.

Endurance exercises, or aerobic exercises, are meant to increase your breathing and heart rate. This includes activities like walking, jogging, swimming and cycling.

There are two types of endurance training:

  1. Cardiovascular training

Cardiovascular training is when you do aerobic exercises for a long period of time at a specific level. This improves your lung capacity.

  1. Strength training

Strength training is when you do resistance exercises with higher reps. This trains your slow-twitch muscles. These fibres in your muscles allow them to perform higher amounts of physical exertion for longer periods of time.

These types of endurance exercises can evoke different physiological responses:

Cardiac output

The central cardiovascular responses during endurance training include a lower heart rate and an increased stroke volume of the heart. It also increases blood plasma, which is responsible for carrying cells and proteins through your body, without rapidly changing your red blood cell count. This reduces the measure of your blood’s resistance to deformation, which increases your cardio output.

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Mitochondrial volume

Endurance training also increases total mitochondrial volume in your muscle fibres. The mitochondria increase both in number and size.


Capillarisation is an increase in the surface area of your capillaries. This helps increase heat dissipation when you are performing endurance exercises.

Oxygen uptake

During endurance training, your oxygen uptake is increased. This improves the mass of your exercising muscle, metabolic efficiency and exercise intensity.

Blood circulation

The blood flow to your active muscles is increased when you are doing endurance exercises. It also improves the blood flow to your other organ systems, making them work more efficiently.


During endurance training, your metabolic pathways that break down molecules into smaller units to be oxidised or broken down for other anabolic reactions, are improved. These are called your catabolism.

This improves your body’s ability to revert fat and glycogen into energy.

Blood pressure

During endurance training, systolic blood pressure is increased. This type of blood pressure measures the pressure exerted against the arterial walls as the blood is forcefully pumped through the veins as they contract.

Your diastolic blood pressure is also decreased. This measures the pressure exerted against the arterial walls when no blood is being pumped through the veins.

During endurance training, your cardiovascular system and muscles are exercised to work harder for longer. This is achieved through strength and cardiovascular training methods. It improves your blood pressure, blood circulation, catabolism, oxygen uptake, cardiac output, capillarisation and mitochondrial volume.

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