Aerobic Exercise Health: The body adapts differently to different types of exercise. Aerobic, cardio, and endurance all refer to activities stimulating heart and breathing rates to provide the muscles with oxygenated blood. The oxygen is delivered by blood pumped from the heart through the arteries and returns to the heart through the veins. This explains all the heavy breathing during workouts. Aerobic exercise increases energy production in the muscle cells and blood delivery in the cardiovascular system.
Aerobic Exercise Health
All the muscles get to rest on and off when in use. The heart is a unique muscle that pumps blood through the body that never gets time off. This is why it is important to strengthen the heart. With aerobic exercise, the heart’s chamber/left ventricle gets larger, producing more blood per pump to the rest of the body. This improves cardiac output for the blood pumped by the heart per minute. When the heart is stronger, pumping more blood per beat means it doesn’t have to beat as rapidly. A lower resting heart rate is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and promotes long and healthy life.
Each time the heart beats, blood pumps from the left ventricle into the aorta and flows into a branching vessel network. Every artery in the body provides resistance to the circulation that the heart pushes against. The resistance provided can vary, depending on overall health and health conditions.
- Aerobic exercise training reduces the workload by reducing arterial stiffness.
- Aerobic exercise increases heart rate, pushing more blood through the arteries.
- The inner wall of the arteries recognizes the increased blood flow causing the arteries to widen.
- With regular training, the arteries acclimate and become more effective at expanding with each rush of blood.
- No aerobic activity can cause the arteries to stiffen, causing circulation problems.
- Increased arterial stiffness is associated with coronary artery plaque development.
- Aerobic exercise impacts the vascular system by promoting capillary growth.
- Capillaries are microscopic vessels where oxygen diffuses from red blood cells to the muscle and other cells.
- The body stimulates a molecule called vascular endothelial growth factor to grow additional capillaries to regulate energy demand more efficiently.
- Older individuals benefit from aerobic activity similarly to young individuals.
Along with cardiovascular benefits, aerobic exercise increases the muscles’ energy production. The energy is produced in muscle cells primarily through an oxidative energy system. Oxidative energy production takes place within cells called mitochondria. Once blood delivers oxygen to the muscle cells, it can be used to produce energy that powers the muscles.
- Aerobic exercise training improves the muscle cells’ ability to burn fat by generating more mitochondria and enhancing functionality.
- Following each training session, the body burns more fat than usual.
- Aerobic training can increase resting metabolic rate, resulting in more calories burned.
- It can increase post-exercise oxygen consumption/EPOC, resulting in increased calorie burn after training in addition to calories burned during exercise.
The muscles adapt from aerobic training. Muscles are made up of various fiber types.
- Aerobic exercise training primarily influences type 1 fibers, known as slow-twitch fibers.
- The name comes from the proteins responsible for their contractions.
- Relative to type 2a fibers/fast-twitch, type 1 fibers contract more slowly but have an increased capacity to contract over and over for longer.
- Aerobic training results in hypertrophy of type 1 muscle fibers by adding more slow-twitch proteins.
Strengthening the heart and making arteries more flexible directly impacts health and physical function. Aerobic exercise strengthens and trains the heart to circulate blood efficiently. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic can develop a personalized health plan for your needs.
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Arbab-Zadeh, Armin, et al. “Cardiac remodeling in response to 1 year of intensive endurance training.” Circulation vol. 130,24 (2014): 2152-61. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010775
Gavin, Timothy P et al. “No difference in the skeletal muscle angiogenic response to aerobic exercise training between young and aged men.” The Journal of physiology vol. 585, Pt 1 (2007): 231-9. doi:10.1113/Physiol.2007.143198
Hellsten, Ylva, and Michael Nyberg. “Cardiovascular Adaptations to Exercise Training.” Comprehensive Physiology vol. 6,1 1-32. 15 Dec. 2015, doi:10.1002/cphy.c140080
Nauman, Javaid, et al. “Temporal changes in resting heart rate and deaths from ischemic heart disease.” JAMA vol. 306,23 (2011): 2579-87. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1826
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Seals, Douglas R et al. “Aerobic exercise training and vascular function with aging in healthy men and women.” The Journal of physiology vol. 597,19 (2019): 4901-4914. doi:10.1113/JP277764
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