Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

The Relationship Between Cardiovascular Health & Endurance Exercise

author image Danielle Hill
Danielle Hill has been writing, editing and translating since 2005. She has contributed to "Globe Pequot" Barcelona travel guide, "Gulfshore Business Magazine," "Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico" and "The Barcelona Review." She has trained in neuro-linguistic programming and holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature and literary translation from Brown University.
The Relationship Between Cardiovascular Health & Endurance Exercise
Running is one example of endurance exercise.

Endurance exercises improve your ability to maintain physical activity over a relatively long period of time. Marathon runners are one example of endurance athletes; they develop their skills for optimal performance over long time periods. Because endurance exercises typically accelerate the heart rate and breathing, the term is also used interchangeably with cardiovascular exercise.

Video of the Day

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise

Endurance exercises require your body to work aerobically, using oxygen to produce the energy you need for movement. During aerobic activity, the intensity of the movement is limited by the rate at which the body can take in and use oxygen. As a result, aerobic activity is less vigorous than anaerobic activity, which derives energy from glucose without any oxygen. Aerobic activity is ideal for improving endurance because you can sustain it for relatively long periods. By comparison, anaerobic exercise is only possible for relatively short bursts because the anaerobic method of energy production rapidly floods the muscles with lactic acid, making it impossible to continue the intense effort for a longer period.

Effects on the Cardiovascular System

When you participate in endurance exercise, your cardiovascular system must work harder to deliver oxygen, nutrients and hormones at an accelerated rate. Your heart beats faster and pumps a larger volume of blood with each beat. With the heart working harder, your body can get blood to the lungs more quickly, oxygenating it, and then deliver it to your muscles more quickly. In addition, metabolic processes accelerate, requiring a more rapid transport of nutrients.


Regular endurance exercise improves the functional capacity of your cardiovascular system, resulting in a lower resting heart rate and a quicker return to your normal pulse following exercise. Through regular endurance exercise, your muscles strengthen as you burn fat, leading to an improved muscle-to-fat ratio. The lower percentage of body fat helps your metabolism work more efficiently, accelerating the weight-loss effects of future exercise. In addition, the improved condition of your cardiovascular system puts you at a lower risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.


If you are a beginner, you should ease into endurance exercise gradually, starting with relatively low-intensity workouts. To reap the full benefits, make sure that each session lasts at least 10 minutes. Aim to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week at a moderate intensity or for 75 minutes per week at a more vigorous intensity. If you aren't accustomed to regular exercise, consult with your doctor before beginning a new routine. If you have joint problems, opt for low-impact forms of endurance exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media