The muscular system is not the only system needing to be maintained and strengthened through physical activity. Cardio workouts such as running, walking, bicycling, and elliptical are some of the most basic exercises that directly impact heart health. The duration and intensity of the workout varies on the heart’s current condition. Workout machines usually display a zone chart that can be used to gage the intensity of the workout. If you are an outdoorsy person, a heart rate monitor is a great idea. Tracking your heart rate is essential to determining the cardio output to gage which zone is being met. It is important to note that the typical resting heart rate is between 70 and 80 beats per minute.
The chart to the left shows a fat burning zone and a cardio zone based on age and weight. (the numbers represent the heart rate) The fat burning zone is great for losing weight and transforming your body. The cardio zone however, works your cardiovascular system by strengthening the heart and increasing endurance.
The heart and lungs work together to provide the entire body with oxygen, hormones, and nutrients. These important functions help the body perform optimally. A basic understanding of the structure and function of the cardiovascular system is necessary to understand the human movement system. So, allow me to geek out for a minute and break it down.
The cardiovascular and the respiratory systems are intricate structures working together to provide oxygen to the body. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart, blood vessels, and blood that transport the blood from the heart to the tissues of the body. The respiratory system includes the trachea, bronchi, alveoli, and the lungs. These structures gather oxygen from the environment and process it to be delivered to the entire body.
The heart is divided into the left and right side and has four hollow chambers that are interdependent but work separately. The atria are smaller chambers located at the top of the heart and act like reservoirs. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood returning to the heart from the body; while the left atrium gathers oxygenated blood from the lungs. The ventricles are the larger chambers located at the bottom of the heart. The right ventricle receives deoxygenated blood from the right atrium and sends it out to the lungs to be saturated with oxygen. While the left ventricle receives oxygenated blood from the left atrium and pumps it back out to the body.
Blood vessels are hollow tubes that transport blood to and from the heart. They consists of arteries that carry the blood away from the heart; veins that carry blood back to the heart; capillaries are the smallest blood vessels and it’s where the exchange of water and chemicals between the blood and tissue take place; and venules are the very small veins that connect capillaries to the larger veins. Blood transports oxygen, nutrients, hormones to various organs and tissues throughout the body. It also removes waste products from bodily tissues. Blood also helps regulate body temperature by transferring heat from the internal core to the outer peripheral of the body. It’s also essential for regulating the pH levels in the body and maintains the water content of body cells. Blood provides protection through its clotting mechanism and fights against foreign toxins which helps reduce the risk of disease and illness via specialized immune cells.
Breathing is the process of moving air in and out of the body. It requires optimal functioning of the respiratory pump and all its components. The respiratory pump is made up of bones and muscle structures that allow proper ventilation (inhalation and exhalation) to happen. The respiratory passages are divided up by the conducting airways and the respiratory airways. The conducting airways consist of the nasal cavity, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, the pulmonary bronchi, the bronchioles, alveoli, and alveolar sacs. Air travels through these structures before entering the respiratory airways. The respiratory airways collect incoming air from the conducting airways. Air travels through the bronchioles, to the alveoli into the alveolar sacs and transports gases in and out of the blood. Through physical exertion, maximal oxygen consumption is at the highest rate of oxygen transport and utilization. This happens to be the best way to gage cardio respiratory fitness.
Abnormal breathing patterns associated with stress and anxiety can lead to a dysfunctional system. Therefore, if you are experiencing the following symptoms visit your health care provider.
Shallow breathing patterns can negatively impact posture.
Headaches, lightheadedness, and dizziness creates excessive muscular tension.
Short shallow breaths cause altered carbon dioxide and oxygen, which causes anxiety.
Inadequate oxygen results in stiff muscles and joints.
Retention of metabolic waste within muscles results in stiff muscles and joints.