Looking for a definition or a way to improve your cardiovascular fitness? This article will provide a definition and tips on how to achieve optimal cardiovascular fitness.
The Definition of Cardiovascular Fitness
Cardiovascular fitness refers to the ability of the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs, vessels) to supply oxygenated blood to the working muscles efficiently. It also allows the muscles to use oxygen from the blood supply to provide energy for movement. The definition of cardiovascular fitness, in other words is the efficiency with which your blood circulates throughout your body.
Cardiovascular Fitness: What is it important?
What is cardiovascular fitness? Healthy circulatory system can help prevent many life-threatening diseases. Cardiovascular fitness is important for preventing:
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Blood clots
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Arterial blockage
- Coronary artery disease
- Atherosclerosis (hardening the arteries)
- Insulin resistance syndrome
- Cardiac Arrhythmia
Cardiovascular Fitness: Keys to Success
Cardiovascular fitness is not something that happens by itself. There are many things you can do to ensure your cardiovascular system is healthy and fit.
Do not smoke
Smoking is a major contributor to heart disease, and other cardiovascular diseases. It’s not too late if you smoke. You can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by quitting smoking. You might consider a smoking cessation plan.
Get Regular Exercise
Regular exercise improves your heart’s health and makes it more efficient at pumping blood around your body. Although any exercise can strengthen your heart, aerobic exercise is the best. It improves cardiovascular efficiency, endurance, and strength. For optimal cardiovascular health, aerobic activity should be done repetitively for between 30-60 minutes for 60-70% heart rate. This can be done three to four times per week. A heart rate chart will help you determine your target heart beat.
Here are some examples of cardiovascular exercise options:
- Walking at a moderate pace
- Stair climber
- Trainer for the elliptical
- Exercise bike
- Aerobics classes
- Spin class
- Some types of yoga
- Interval circuit training
- Jumping rope
Be aware of your weight
Your risk of developing heart disease can be significantly increased by being overweight by as low as 30%. To safely reduce your weight, consult a nutritionist, a health care provider, and/or trainer. Calculate your body fat to determine if you are overweight. A Body fat percentage chart can also be used to help you decide if you are.
Heart disease is often caused by stress. High levels of cortisol or adrenaline can be caused by too much stress. High levels of both cortisol and adrenaline have been shown to be linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems. Obesity is also linked to high cortisol levels, which can lead to chronic high levels.
Americans live in constant stress. Stress hormones are chronically elevated in Americans’ daily lives. Find something to help you relax and reduce stress if you’re suffering from chronic stress. Stress relief activities include deep breathing, meditation and yoga. Regular exercise, as well as vegging, can also help.
Get enough sleep
In a recent Time Magazine article, the connection between sleep deprivation and heart disease was discussed. They also discussed a University of Chicago study which showed that even one-half an hour less sleep per night can increase coronary plaque by 16%.
A healthy heart needs seven hours of sleep per night.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy heart diet helps to control weight and maintain blood lipids within their optimal ranges. Heart healthy eating habits are low in saturated fats, simple carbs, processed foods, and sugars. It contains adequate amounts of whole grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and other healthy nutrients. Additionally, a high sodium diet can lead to heart disease. It is important to avoid excessive sodium intake.
Although there are many genetic factors that can affect your cardiovascular health, you can manage your risk. You can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by living a healthy lifestyle, as described above.