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CARDIOVASCULAR fitness is the fitness of the heart, blood and blood vessels. “Cardiac” is another word for heart, and “vascular” refers to blood vessels. Of all the parts of fitness, this part is one of the best for helping you feel good and enjoy life more and to reduce stress. Cardiovascular fitness helps you look good because the exercises you do to maintain your fitness help you control your weight and develop a good physique (figure) and increases your self-esteem. Having good cardiovascular fitness increases your energy level and you can be active for longer periods without tiring or becoming out of breath. A person needs to strengthen the heart muscle and improve the other parts of the cardiovascular system in order to have good health. Someone who exercises will have a stronger heart muscle than a person who does very little exercise. Scientific studies show that active people have less heart disease and are less likely to have heart attacks than inactive people. Some symptoms of heart disease can start to develop when people are in their teens. For this reason, it is important to develop and maintain cardiovascular fitness early in life. The cardiovascular system (heart, blood, and blood vessels) works together with the RESPIRATORY system (air passages, lungs). As air is breathed in, the blood picks up oxygen from the lungs. The blood carries the oxygen to the heart. The heart pumps the blood into the arteries and on to the muscles and other body cells. Muscle cells need oxygen to keep working. Waste products are given off by the working muscle cells and are then removed by the blood. The veins return the blood containing wastes back to the heart. The heart pumps this returning blood to the lungs where wastes are exchanged for more oxygen, and the process begins all over again. The heart is a muscle and like other muscles, the heart gets stronger through the right kind of exercise. The heart acts as a pump to supply blood to the...
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