A key element in achieving personal fitness includes understanding the role of our cardiovascular system in overall body health, and realizing how exercise contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system.
What is the Human Cardiovascular System?
Our cardiovascular system includes the heart, blood vessels, blood, and lymphatic system. The system is responsible for pumping blood from the heart, through the blood vessel channels, to all parts of the body. Some argue that the cardiovascular system is actually part of the circulatory system because it provides the method of transportation that the system needs to get nutrients, gases, hormones, blood cells, and nitrogen waste through the body.
How is the Cardiovascular System Related to Other Bodily Functions?
All of the functional systems within the body are inter-related and work together for optimal health. For example, the digestive system works with the cardiovascular system by breaking down food (with digestive juices) into nutrients the body can absorb and make into energy. The heart and cardio system not only circulate those nutrients in the blood, throughout the body, but the heart also uses the nutrients to continue functioning properly.
The nervous system is the command center of the body. It’s made up of the spine, nerve cord, brain, and sensory neurons. The cardiovascular system receives commands called impulses to pump blood and send it through the circulatory system. Digestive nutrients are sent through the circulatory system on impulses from the nervous system.
What Effect Does Exercise Have on the Cardiovascular System?
Regular exercise keeps these inter-related systems working together efficiently. It also:
- lowers blood pressure
- improves heart function
- reduces the recovery time after exertion
- lowers cholesterol levels
- increases blood, oxygen, and nutrients to working muscles