How Exercise Improves Cardiovascular Health

February 4, 2010 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 How Exercise Improves Cardiovascular Health
The way modern medicine treats cardiovascular patients you would think that anyone with a problem is so brittle they need to be considered a humpty-dumpty about ready to fall off a wall. This logic is extended to exercise wherein individuals are cautioned not to overdo it. A new study shows that it is the force of the blood1 moving through your circulation that actually triggers various gene signals that are highly cardiovascular protective.

While I am not suggesting that individuals perform excessive amounts of exercise they are not conditioned to perform (which is why a few people have heart attacks shoveling snow every year), I am suggesting that individuals consistently exercise and that as their fitness improves they work on pushing their aerobic exercise sessions. While the biochemistry is fairly complicated, a basic explanation is not. When you force blood to move faster it triggers the release of protective compounds which equate to better cardiovascular health. In particular you make more eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), which has a profound relaxing and anti-inflammatory effect on your arteries.

The science is showing that it is your most recent exercise period that offers the cardioprotection that last for a few days. This means you keep getting good cardioprotection by consistently exercising and pushing it within your level of fitness. While it is good that you may have exercised a lot over the course of your life, this data implies that past fitness pales in comparison to the current exercise session – in terms of cardioprotection.

While nutrients like resveratrol and grape seed extract will also help boost eNOS, combining them with exercise and even taking them before exercise is a great idea to maximize the cardio benefit of aerobic exercise.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ How Exercise Helps Arteries  Blood  Weiye Wang, Chang Hoon Ha, Bong Sook Jhun, Chelsea Wong, Mukesh K. Jain, and Zheng Gen Jin.

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