Cardio-respiratory Fitness and Aerobic Exercise

Also known as cardiovascular fitness, cardio-respiratory fitness refers to the capability or fitness level of your heart, blood vessels, lungs and breathing mechanisms. Here is a simplified version of how they work and why they are important:

Cardio = heart

Vascular, vessel = hollow receptacle for liquid

Respire = breath

The heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. Blood which carries oxygen is transported by the vascular system, better known as your veins and arteries. Your lungs are responsible for processing oxygen by extracting it from the air you breathe and sending it into the blood for distribution throughout the body.

Cardio-respiratory fitness refers to the ability and efficiency of your heart, lungs and vascular system to process and transport oxygen to your muscles. Aerobic exercise is the type of activity we use to build cardio-respiratory fitness. Aerobic means “with oxygen” and aerobic exercises are those that utilize oxygen during the activity. Aerobic exercise trains the body to utilize oxygen more efficiently and improves your overall cardio-respiratory fitness that is your heart, vessels and lungs.

The importance of cardio-respiratory fitness is that without the efficient workings of your heart, lungs and vascular system, even light physical activity can feel labored , thus limiting your functional abilities and independence. Aerobic exercise is any activity that involves movement of your big muscle groups (hips, legs, chest, and back), is performed continuously, is (usually) rhythmic or repetitive, and is performed at an intensity level that causes your heart, lungs and vascular system to work somewhat harder than when they are at rest.

Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, running, skipping, skiing, bicycle riding, jumping rope, swimming and rowing. You can easily perform aerobic exercise regularly from your home by installing home workout equipment such as elliptical, treadmills, or exercise bikes.

Aerobic exercise training effect – Reduced Heart Rate

At first this may sound scary, but be assured that a reduced heart rate as a training effect of exercise is a good thing. It means that your heart is not having to work as much or as hard to deliver the goods (blood, oxygen) during rest.

As your heart get stronger, it becomes more efficient. It can pump more blood volume with fewer contractions every minute. The purpose of aerobic exercise is to give the heart appropriate bouts of stress to strengthen it. The result is that at rest or during non-exercising times, the heart works less and with greater ease and efficiency.

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One Response to “Cardio-respiratory Fitness and Aerobic Exercise”

  1. Inspiration is what makes you started. Practice is what keeps you going

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