Effects of Cardiovascular Exercise
on Heart Diseases
by Vladimir Stojnic
How many of us have heard exercising is good for you? Media is filled with suggestions for adequate physical activity. Promotions of better living are over-floating our daily life, making sure that we clearly understand the benefits of activity on a daily base. Why? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the USA is one of the fattest nations in the world, which is directly correlated to the problematic percentage of heart diseases among Americans. In the past several years the American society and government itself, have tried to deliver the guidelines for needed physical activity of an American citizen. Based on scientific research, it is stated that increasing cardiovascular exercise has a great effect on decrease of risk of chronic heart disease. To better understand the correlation of physical activity and human circulatory system, we must bring the science in help.
The whole process of cardiovascular system starts with our breath taken in. Air has a molecules of oxygen that are one of main power sources for most of living beings, including people. Once the air is taken in, it travels trough air tubes where it reaches lungs, our oxygen convertor. When we exhale the whole gas waste, mainly CO2 as a main co-product of the body’s chemical reactions, comes out. Lungs isolate oxygen in the sacs called alveoli, and ships it with blood via pulmonary vain to the heart. At this point respiratory system is handing the control to the cardiovascular system.
Heart is one of the main parts of the cardiovascular system. It is a muscle that is made out of 4 parts and is considered as “The pump of life.” If we think about the travel of all needed nutrients, hormones, enzymes, and waist on our body, heart is the living machinery that uses all power needed to pumps it throughout the body. This fist size muscle never rest and is considered as the hard worker who never sleeps. Therefore, the health of it should be always maintained. Beside heart, the cardiovascular system is build up out of blood and blood vessels.
Blood is a red liquid that could be compared to a subway trains of a large metropolis, which is in charge of a transportation of the work force through the body that never stops. The major components of blood are plasm, leukocytes, white blood cell that support immune system, platelets, responsible for “repair” and erythrocytes, red blood cells that carrie oxygen throughout the body. Blood carries gasses and nutrients to organs and transporting waste out of those organs.
Blood vessels are tunnels that blood is cruising through. Once the heart receives the oxygenated blood from lungs, it immediately sends it to the rest of the body via arteries, the main vessels, through arterioles, medium size ones, and finally to the capillaries, the smallest blood vessels. Capillaries are the direct communicators with the cells that receive the oxygenated in exchange for the deoxygenated blood. From capillaries the “waist” blood goes to veins which are the closest vessels to the heart. Heart then ships the deoxygenated blood to lungs to collect oxygen and start a new cycle.
For all this complex system to function as perfect as possible, we need to make sure that we are neither delaying nor damaging it. One of the risks of malfunctioning of the system is related to a process called atherosclerosis. “Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow.” (American Heart Association) The major cause of arteriosclerosis, most of studies found, is inadequate diet and lack of physical activity of an individual. Not that “the couch potato” life only destructivly effects longevity of joints, bones, proper digestive and other internal systems, but it also has a negative effect on muscles, the one in particular. Heart, as we mentioned, is the most hard working muscle in our body. In a inactive person the hardening of arteries causes inappropriate blood volume heart needs. If we add on that a diet rich in lipids and simple sugars, we get a nothing but a bad deal for our body.
Cardiovascular exercise have been proved to be beneficial. It extends the life of heart and all cardiovascular system. As we know, exercising increases the strength of muscles, which could be applied to the heart as well. The more we positively challenge it, the stronger it becomes. American Heart Association states that beside the decrease of potential hardening and inflammation of the arteries, “cardio” exercise improves the lipid level and, what we all care weight loss. “Beneficial changes in cholesterol and lipid levels, including lower LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) levels, occur even when people performed low amounts of moderate- or high-intensity exercise, such as walking or jogging 12 miles a week. However, more intense exercise is required to significantly change cholesterol levels, notably increasing HDL (‘good’ cholesterol). An example of this kind of intense program would be jogging about 20 miles a week. Benefits occur even with very modest weight loss, suggesting that overweight people who have trouble losing pounds can still achieve considerable heart benefits by exercising.” (New York Times)
We could also argue that exercising improves respiratory system. The more we deplete the body with oxygen during our physical activity, the lungs require more oxygen intake after to bring the body in a homeostasis. This means that the more we exercise and "stress" our lungs, the more ready the lungs will be to perform on a daily base.
The American College for Sports Medicine set the recommended guideline for physical activity for a healthy American, which means for a person who does not suffer from any chronicle heart diseases. They suggest a 150 minutes per week of a moderate pace (60-75% of your VO2 max).
The conclusion will be that our life depends on the maintenance we provide for our body. The superior machine called body requires the right treatment. The quality food intake is nothing less important as proper exercise. Cardiovascular exercise has a crucial role in maintaining the long and healthy life. Our body is made to move and be agile, we must not stop doing that. The American nation must be aware of benefits. If I have a power to make a major federal decisions my primary goal should be the education of potential risks of inactivity and creation of public spaces where citizens would have more freedom to work on the overall wellness of its bodies.It is the time for us to take our lives in our hands and start making decisions that will benefit
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