By Mojabeng Dorcas Senekal
CARDIOVASCULAR exercise is any exercise that challenges the heart and vascular systems to increase the heart’s ability to pump blood and distribute oxygen to the tissues of the body. So basically any exercise or activity that rises your resting heart rate. Because our bodies were made to move, we need to keep our muscles in shape for that to always happen efficiently. Your heart is a muscle. Therefore working it makes it stronger. A strong cardiovascular system means more capillaries delivering more oxygen to cells in your muscles. This enables your cells to burn more fat during both exercise and inactivity.
Cardiovascular exercise uses large muscle movement over a sustained period of time keeping your heart rate to at least 50 percent of its maximum level. So as you lace up, your gray matter sends out get- ready signals; without your even realizing it, breath and heart rates quicken. Once you are sweating the brain delivers feel- good endorphins to help ease the pain of an all- out workout. Research shows that what we know as “the runner’s high” is actually “happy” chemicals like dopamine which are released during and after workout to lift the mood. Did you know that your body uses more fat than carbs when you’re in the long, slow running zone? And because burning fat requires more oxygen, keep your breath nice and easy. Oxygen is the ingredient muscles need to covert carbs and fat into fuel for muscles. The harder you go, the more oxygen it takes to remove carbon dioxide, a waste product made by muscles. To get more air, you start breathing faster, going from 12 to 15 breaths a minute at rest to up to 35 to 45 at max effort levels. Tell yourself it’s all good because the harder you go at it, the faster you’ll burn off calories.