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New here, hopefully this is the right place to post this question.

It's widely known that repeated, strenuous aerobic exercise gradually improves the capacity of one's cardiovascular system — $\text{VO}_2$ max, cardiac output, etc. The U.S. NIH, for example, states the following:

Over time, regular aerobic activity makes your heart and lungs stronger and able to work better.

When done regularly, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity strengthens your heart muscle. This improves your heart's ability to pump blood to your lungs and throughout your body. As a result, more blood flows to your muscles, and oxygen levels in your blood rise.

Capillaries, your body's tiny blood vessels, also widen. This allows them to deliver more oxygen to your body and carry away waste products.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find information about the actual biological processes that happen during repeated exercise which trigger these effects. Is it some combination of hormones? Is it a form of muscle hypertrophy of the heart?

Frankly, the subject fascinates me, and I'd be grateful if someone with knowledge about this could share it!

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  • $\begingroup$ Regular exercise results in "increased oxygen demand," which, via the hormone epinephrine and sympathetic nervous system, stimulates the heart and, in long term, the growth of new capilaries in the muscles. Yes, heart muscle hypertrophy is also one of the results. You may want to search for something like "adaptation of circulatory system to exercise" and you'll get results like ptdirect.com/training-design/anatomy-and-physiology/… and youtube.com/watch?v=OLGy1a3w08s . $\endgroup$ – Jan Aug 17 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting resources, @Jan — thanks for your time! :) $\endgroup$ – Joseph A. Aug 17 at 17:19

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