Harvard University

Life Changing Benefits of Cardio Activity

Cardiovascular Training Primary Purpose

The No. 1 benefit of following an aerobic exercise plan is the change in your cardiovascular fitness that results from this kind of training regimen.

Cardiovascular Training is aimed at improving your heart muscle and cardiovascular system. Your heart is a muscle. Like any muscle, it becomes stronger with exercise and can pump blood more efficiently. Regular aerobic exercise causes your lungs to process more oxygen with less effort; your heart to pump more blood with fewer beats; and the blood supply directed to your muscles to increase. As a result, by performing cardiovascular exercises, you are increasing your body's endurance and efficiency. At the same time, exercise also improves the performance of the muscles in the rest of your body.

Research shows that the specific benefits of regular low impact cardiovascular (aka aerobic exercise) includes:

Strengthens your heart

Lowers risk of heart disease (including but not limited to heart attack, arteriosclerosis, arthrosclerosis, Ischemic cardiomyopathy, Hypertensive cardiomyopathy, Inflammatory heart disease, etc.).

Reduces cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Increases life span. Several studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientifically linked exercise with increased life spans for the first time. A famous study looked at 17,000 male alumni of Harvard University between the ages of 35 and 74. Results show that the physical activities of the men increased, their death rate decreased. Men who spend at least 2,000 kilocalories per week doing moderate exercises such as tennis, swimming, jogging or brisk walking lowered their overall death rate by 25-33% and decreased their risk of coronary artery disease by an astounding 41% when compared to the more inactive fellow alumni.

It improves quality of life. Less chronic muscle pain, less stiffness and greater mobility are all benefits of exercising.

Reduces the risk for certain diseases. Extra weight is a contributing factor to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) and some forms of cancer. As you lose weight, your risk of developing these diseases decreases.

Relieves or decreases the symptoms of angina.

Stops or reverses the build-up of blockages in the vessels that supply blood to the heart.

Helps control blood sugar.

Helps reduce the risk of developing insulin sensitivity and Type 2 diabetes.

Can help keep you fit if you have arthritis, without putting excessive stress on your joints.

Increased stamina / endurance. Exercise may make you tired in the short term, ie, during and right after the activity, but over the long term it will increase your stamina and reduce fatigue.

Improves the ability of muscles to use fats during exercise, preserving intramuscular glycogen.

Increases the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen.

Improves circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure.

Increases bone density. Lowers risk of osteoporosis.

Promotes weight loss through calories burning and increased metabolism.

Helps maintain a healthy weight.

It reduces body fat.

Increases your metabolic rate. The metabolic activity of an individual is heightened for several hours following a bout of aerobic activity.

Improves immune system. People who exercise regularly are less susceptible to minor viral illnesses such as colds and flu. It is possible that aerobic exercise helps activate your immune system and prepares it to fight off infection.

Improved muscle health. Aerobic exercise stimulates the growth of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in your muscles. This helps your body more efficiently deliver oxygen to your muscles and remove from them irritating metabolic waste products such as lactic acid.

Tone muscles throughout the body.

Enhances the speed at which muscles recover from high intensity exercise.

Helps prevent osteoporosis (gradual loss of bone mass / strength).

Improves mobility and strength in later life.

Reduces stress. Regular aerobic exercise releases endorphins, your body's natural painkillers. Endorphins also reduce stress, depression and anxiety.

Improves sleep patterns.