Last week we discussed how Oxygen consumption, stem cell quality and the ant inflammatory responses react with age. These three factors of aging are all manipulable by exercising. The science behind it combined with personal experience is enough to make a solid case for physical fitness. The older people you know who maintain physical fitness likely look and feel younger than the ones who attend the bar every night and spend the days in front of a television.
Smoking is a factor in aging, both internal and external. A chemical in smoke called acetaldehyde damages the bonds that hold tissues together, threatening bones, muscles and skin. The chemicals in cigarette smoke also work with an enzyme in the body that breaks down collagen and elastin, two fibers that keep skin compact. The result of smoking is damaged insides and a sagging, wrinkled exterior.
Cardiovascular disease is any condition that narrows or blocks blood vessels in the chest, that involves damage to the heart muscle, or that negatively effects breathing rhythm.
Cardiovascular fitness involves the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Aerobic exercise enlarges blood vessels, strengthens the muscle of the heart, helps to use oxygen and improve circulation, and increases lung capacity. These positive effects lead to a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure. This means that the heart is less stressed in those who are fit. The risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack are greatly reduced when the heart and lungs are kept youthful.
A cardio workout induces Eu-stress, or stress that is beneficial to the body and mind. It pushes organs and muscles to perform better.
Exercise boosts the level of hormones called endorphins in the body. Endorphin’s are release by the pituitary gland when the body experiences Eu-stress and are linked to motivation, greater endurance and a feeling of euphoria. Rigorous exercise like running, and rowing, and sports like soccer and basketball, release the most endorphins in the body. The more endorphins are released, the more activity the body is capable of doing.
One last benefit of cardiovascular fitness is improved quality of sleep. A cardio workout in the late afternoon or early evening will raise the body’s temperature just in time for it to fall by bedtime. Temperature rhythms are a part of the sleep cycle. Having a falling temperature at bedtime facilitates better sleep. Quality sleep helps to rejuvenate the body and mind.