Cardiovascular related diseases account for more deaths than any other Canada, The United States and most European countries. It is defined as a disease that affects the circulatory system, including the heart, blood vessels, veins and arteries throughout the body and brain. The most common diseases are coronary heart disease (which includes heart attacks, and angina – or chest pain), stroke (blockage of blood supply to the brain), heart failure and high blood pressure (which is also a risk factor toward other diseases).
Physical inactivity is a major risk factor in developing a cardiovascular disease. Other risk factors include smoking, alcohol, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes. Therefore, reducing the risk of developing a disease is greatly increased by leading a healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet and exercise. Exercise, in particular, has many benefits, including reducing the risk for a heart attack by 35 – 55 % (Heart and Stoke Foundation of Canada). In order to maintain proper circulatory function, the cardiovascular system must be trained. Exercise, especially endurance exercise, increases endurance which in turn improves the overall efficiency and strength of the circulatory system. Endurance exercise is achieved by performing low to medium intensity activities (for example walking, jogging, swimming, or working out at a health-club) for long periods of time.
By engaging in regular endurance exercise the heart becomes stronger and is therefore able to pump more blood throughout the body with each beat. This means that the heart of a trained circulatory system does not have to pump as many times per minute (heart rate) or work as hard as that of an untrained system. Oxygen is therefore more efficiently distributed to the working muscle groups of a fit individual than an unfit individual during exercise. Furthermore, endurance exercise reduces resting heart rate (heart rate when not exercising) and the amount of time it takes for an individual to return to resting heart rate after physical exertion. Improving circulatory efficiency allows for the overall health of an individual to be maintained with less strain and difficulty.
Therefore the answer to the statement “Endurance Exercise: how it can help cardiovascular health” is summed up by the following: Regular endurance exercise is essential to the maintenance and longevity of an individual’s overall health. The more an individual engages in endurance exercise, the more he/she increases his/her endurance (efficiency and strength) which ultimately improves his/her overall health. This, combined with a healthy diet will lead you on your way to life-long health and well being. For those unsure about exercising, consult your health care professional or visit your local health club.