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why does heart rate increase after exercise

Exercise increases the rate at which energy is needed from food. This increases the need for
both food and oxygen in the body. This is why your pulse rate and breathing rate increase with exercise. Your pulse is just an indication of your heart rate as your arteries expand each timethe ventricles pump blood out of the heart. Your heart speeds up to pump extra food and oxygen to the muscles. Breathing speeds up to get more oxygen and to get rid of more carbon dioxide. When a fit person, such as an athlete, exercises the pulse rate, breathing rate and lactic acid levels rise much less than they do in an unfit person. The time which it takes for pulse and breathing rate to return to normal is called the
recovery time, and the fitter you are, the shorter your recovery time.

Your heart rate increases when you begin to exercise, then plateaus off and remains elevated for a prolonged period as long as you maintain the same pace. If you increase your effort, it will go even higher until you reach your maximal capacity. The quick responsiveness of your heart to exercise is due to the demand for oxygen in your muscles. Your heart beats faster and harder when exercising to send oxygen to your cells. In order to continually produce energy for contraction, your muscles need oxygen. Oxygen is carried on your red blood cells from your lungs and travels to your heart to be pumped to your working muscles. Inside the muscle cells, tiny organelles called mitochondria combine oxygen with glucose and fat to make ATP, the basic energy molecule.

When you increase your muscle action, your heart beats faster and harder to send oxygen to your cells, ejecting a greater volume of blood with each stroke. High temperatures can raise your heart rate above normal levels. High environmental temperatures during exercise can increases your heart rate above normal levels because your heart has to send blood to your skin to cool you down while continuing to supply blood to your working muscles. These two demands force your heart to beat faster. The more you train in a hot environment, the more efficient you become at cooling your body while satisfying the energy demands of your muscles. Your heart rate may gradually increase during long duration exercise.

During long-duration exercise, your heart rate may gradually increase, even if you maintain a set pace. This "cardiovascular drift" occurs as you lose water through sweating and as your heart directs more blood to your skin in order to cool you down. Your heart rate will increase because blood is being diverted from your working muscles, and therefore, it has to pump more often to keep your muscles supplied with oxygen and energy. Cardiovascular drift occurs regardless of whether you are staying hydrated. But according to researchers at the University of Texas, your heart rate will increase even more if you are getting dehydrated. A study of cyclists showed that a rising body temperature will also contribute to an increased heart rate during prolonged exercise.

There are other things that can influence heart rate. All your body's systems depend on oxygen, and your heart must continue to feed all your tissues while you exercise. According to the book "Essentials of Exercise Physiology," many other things affect heart rate during exercise, including your emotional state, how much food you've eaten prior to exercise, your body position and whether the exercise is continuous or characterized by periodic bursts. With regular training, your heart becomes stronger and pumps a greater volume of blood with less effort, lowering your heart rate at rest and during exercise. Your muscle cells grow more mitochondria and become more efficient at extracting and using oxygen, decreasing demand during exercise.

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