Cardiovascular exercise focuses on movement that strengthens your heart muscle and increases efficiency in your lungs. The word cardiovascular means “heart” and “blood vessels”.
Our bodies were designed to move. Movement, especially continuous movement that involves major muscle groups like our arms and legs, helps our bodies function correctly. Cardiovascular exercise focuses on movement that strengthens your heart muscle and increases efficiency in your lungs. The word cardiovascular means “heart” and “blood vessels”.
Think of cardiovascular exercise this way: when a fire doesn’t have enough oxygen, the flames dwindle and the heat given off is not as intense. Oxygen reacts in the same way in our body: if all we take in are shallow breaths the majority of the day, our cells don’t get all the oxygen they need, our metabolism cools down a little, and our body becomes sluggish.
With cardiovascular exercise, the lungs are challenged to inhale more deeply and therefore deliver more oxygen. The cellular activity jumps back up with the increased oxygen, our metabolism fires back up and our body’s systems pick back up with renewed vigor.
The same can be said with the blood flow. Without regular exercise, the heart muscle can become inefficient and the blood flow isn’t as forceful as it should be. Cellular waste isn’t carried away as completely, nutrients aren’t always delivered where they need to go, and the body can become bogged down in its in own inefficiency.
With cardiovascular exercise, the body can regain balance and efficiency in its processes. When the body is working efficiently we experience:
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced cholesterol
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduced stress
- Increased lung capacity
- Decrease in depression symptoms
- Clearer thinking
- More energy
What kinds of exercise deliver these types of benefits? Jogging, running, swimming, bicycling, rowing, and even the more vigorous forms of yoga all excel in getting the heart beating and lungs breathing more efficiently. Other cardiovascular exercising includes dancing, martial arts, gymnastics, race walking and water aerobics.
It is only recently in our evolution that we humans have begun sitting around for hours each day. This is completely opposite of what our bodies were designed for, so it is no wonder obesity and diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle are rampant these days – we are literally sitting ourselves into an early grave!
Cardiovascular exercise utilizes our body in the way it was created – movement that balances and maintains our systems the way nature intended, resulting in an efficient set of lungs and strong, healthy heart.
Although many of us don’t think of exercise as “fun”, try to remember that the benefits will be well worth short periods of exertion. By making cardio exercise a part of your daily routine, you’ll be making changes to improve your quality of life.