Are You Challenging Your Cardiovascular System?
You should be! Your heart is a muscle. By doing exercise regularly you are giving your heart a work-out. This helps your whole cardiovascular system as well as many other parts of your body, including your spine. So, by exercising you are more likely to have a healthy spine in the future, and also less likely to have conditions such as asthma.
Some good rules for exercise are:
- Start slow: warm up your muscles slowly rather than launching straight into heavy exercise, this helps prevent muscle strains. When beginning a new type of exercise you will often be using muscles you haven't used properly for a while, so ease into it, day by day.
- Stretch before and after: stretch before any exercise to prepare your joints for the movements they are about to undertake. Stretch after exercise to help you muscles to release the by-products of muscle work (e.g. lactic acid).
- Choose your exercise wisely: Choose an exercise that is practical for your lifestyle and something you are likely to enjoy, so that you are much more likely to continue it. Try to participate in more than one sport or activity so that you can develop different muscle groups and challenge the heart in different ways. If you're going to play contact sports (such as rugby) or extreme sports (such as snow-boarding) ensure you use the right technique and prepare yourself fully for the activity.
- Half-hour per day: international recommendations encourage everyone to do at least 30-minutes of at-least moderate exercise each day.
The benefits of exercise are more than just weight loss. Significantly challenging your cardiovascular system leads to a decrease likelihood of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Depending on the type of exercise, you will provide health benefits to your bones, muscles and joints of your body. Also there is an inverse relationship with cancers and mental health problems.