On their own, your heart and lungs function just fine. They will continue to work even when you're sitting down or lying flat on your back about to drift off to sleep. However, over time, just like the rest of your body, your heart and lungs will stop working as efficiently as they once did. While diet has something to do with things, aerobic exercise is the key to making sure that your blood keeps pumping, allowing you to live a long and healthy life.
Breathing and Pumping
Your cardiovascular and respiratory systems provide you with oxygen and nutrients. Working together, they rid your body of carbon dioxide and other toxic waste products. Your heart, blood vessels and blood make up your cardiovascular system, which is largely responsible for carrying oxygen through your body by blood flow. Your lungs are the main component of your respiratory system, which is responsible for making sure that your cardiovascular system has a good supply of oxygen to work with.
Disease Fighting Machine
Aerobic exercise such as walking, running, cycling or swimming improves the function of arteries, decreases inflammation resulting from diseases, and increases the number of cells that help to renew arteries. Regular exercise also helps improve cholesterol and blood fats and can increase your life expectancy by reducing your chances of developing stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer.
Taking Care of Your Ticker
A poor cardiovascular system can lead to diseases of the heart and blood vessels, which can result in a heart attack. Aerobic exercise improves heart and lung function so that there is a good supply of oxygen and clear arteries to carry that oxygen in your blood stream. This means that your risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension is reduced. Further effects include a decrease in bad cholesterol and an increase in the kind of good cholesterol that benefits you.
Regular As Clockwork
To get the best positive effects and health benefits from aerobic exercise, do regular moderate physical activity on most days of the week while ensuring that you follow a healthy and balanced diet. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise four or five times per week. This can be anything from brisk walking to riding a bike, or an exercise class three times per week. Consult your doctor before performing any moderate or heavy physical activity.
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Fit Society Page: Exercising with Coronary Heart Disease
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance and Prescribing Exercise
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity and Health PDF: Chapter 3: Physiological Responses and Long-term Adaptations to Exercise