Cardiovascular exercise

The human cardiovascular system is also called the human circulatory system. The main components of the cardiovascular system are the heart, blood and the blood vessels. The heart pumps the blood while the blood vessels carry and deliver the blood throughout the body. Veins are blood vessels that carry blood towards the heart. Except the pulmonary and umbilical veins, all veins carry unoxygenated blood towards the heart. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart. Except pulmonary and umbilical arteries, all arteries carry oxygenated blood. The circulatory system includes the pulmonary circulation and the systemic circulation.

Cardiovascular exercise is important in order to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular exercise is also referred to as aerobic exercise or simply cardio. Cardiovascular exercise involves large muscle groups such as the legs. It has many benefits. It makes the heart and lungs stronger. It also helps lower blood pressure, increase the metabolic rate and burn lots of calories for weight lose. Cardiovascular exercise is a good preventive method to avoid cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, congestive heart failure and heart attack. Aerobic exercise also helps in improving the efficiency of the cardiovascular system in absorbing and transporting oxygen.

Frequency, duration and intensity are the main factors affecting cardiovascular exercise. Frequency pertains to how often the exercise is performed. Duration is the time spent at each exercise session while intensity refers to the percentage of the maximum heart rate or heart rate reserve at which a person works. Most health experts agree that cardiovascular exercise should last for 20 to 60 minutes at 60-90% of age specific maximal heart rate of 50-85% of heart rate reserve. The average duration is about 30 to 40 minutes. It should be done at a minimum of three days per week.

Heart rate monitoring is important in cardiovascular exercise. Heart rate could be measured manually or with a heart rate monitor. Maximum heart rate could be calculated using the formula 226 minus age for women and 220 minus age for men. Maximum heart rate and target zone heart rate could also be calculated using the Karvonen method.

There are two main types of cardiovascular exercise: outside or outdoor exercise and indoor exercise. Outside cardiovascular exercise includes running, cross-country skiing, inline skating, swimming, jogging, walking, jump-roping and bicycling. Indoor cardiovascular exercise includes the use of treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, ladder climbers, elliptical trainers and other gym equipment. Walking is the easiest, simplest and cheapest of all cardiovascular exercises. It is also a low impact exercise. Walking is the best starting program for anyone who is just starting to exercise. Walking on a flat surface is easy but walking uphill can be very difficult. Treadmill is another easy cardiovascular exercise. Jogging and running is a step up from walking. These exercises are harder and put more impact on the body. Swimming is a no-impact exercise that involves all the major muscles of the body. It is very useful for people who are recovering from injury. Cycling is another no-impact exercise.

There are several factors to be considered when planning to create a cardiovascular or aerobic exercise program. People planning to start exercise should create their own fitness goals. When designing a program, the location should be considered first, on whether the exercise will be done outside or inside, or at home or in the gym. Also, the equipment to be used should also be considered. When planning a cardiovascular exercise, warm up and cooling down should be included in the program. Many people hire a fitness trainer for advice. Others use how-to-exercise videos and software for motivation.


Last updated on Mar 31st, 2010 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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