Thinking of the heart as a muscle, the stronger your heart is the easier it can circulate the blood we need to live a healthy life. Inside the human body, we have approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels which act as pathways to oxygenate the body’s tissues and unburden them of waste.4 If the heart is weak it has to work overtime to accomplish these tasks while a conditioned heart can force more blood throughout the body than weaker hearts.
At rest, strong hearts don’t need to beat as fast due to the fact that each beat is more forceful, whereas the weaker heart needs to pump quicker and more often to maintain adequate blood flow, one reason for an elevated blood pressure.
A normal heart rate is about 72 beats per minute (bpm). For those who exercise, that figure can reduce to below 60 bpm; (I’ve measured 48 - 54 bpm in a few of my students). If you’re doing the math, that means a well-conditioned person can save a minimum of 12 heart beats each minute, 720 beats each hour, 17,280 beats each day, 518,400 beats each month, and 6,307,200 beats each year.
Now you don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out that if you save over six million heart beats each year, you’re bound to prevent the normal wear and tear that plagues so many people in our aging population; plus you simply have a much higher chance of living a more productive life. Try flexing your biceps six million times and see how that muscle feels; now relate that sensation to your heart muscle.
As heart rate accelerates during exercise an internal cleansing is taking place. The analogy I use to simply explain how we cleanse our body’s with aerobic exercise is that of the plumbing system in house. When water is forced to flow through the plumbing on a regular basis; like running the facets of the sinks, tubs and showers, flushing the toilets, and watering the garden with the hose, the inner linings of those tubal pathways (the pipes and hoses) remain relatively clean. As the water surges through the pipes and hoses on a regular basis waste materials are more easily eliminated. They same holds true for the human body. With each aerobic workout, accelerated heart rate forces more blood, at faster speeds, throughout the body, not only carrying the nutrients we need to survive, but removing the toxins at the same time. A sedentary lifestyle is like abandoning your home for a long winter only to return several months later to a gooey mess when the facets are turned back on again. The accumulation of waste particles that cling to the inner lining of the pipes and hoses have no way to exit and will coalesce, and sit their doing their corrosive damage.
The Respiratory System
Another target system emphasized during aerobic exercise is your respiratory system; the system that allows you to inhale air, absorb vital oxygen, and exhale toxic gases like carbon dioxide. The lungs are the primary organs of the respiratory system. The lining of your two lungs are made up of spongy tissue that contains millions of tiny holes called alveoli. The alveoli enlarge as we inhale, and the lungs expand. As we exhale the alveoli shrink, and the lungs constrict.
With each inhale, oxygen is taken into the body and penetrates the lungs which eventually seeps into the circulatory system. The lungs are responsible for supplying the blood stream with oxygen which is then transported to the tissues via the circulatory system. Human life is dependent on oxygen. Going without oxygen for just a few minutes will end a life. And even though we might receive just enough oxygen to allow us to function on a day-to-day basis, being deprived of adequate supplies inevitably guarantees a road that’s filled with maladies.