Heart & Vascular Health

The heart is a vital organ which belongs to the cardiovascular system. Also known as the circulatory system, this body system is primarily responsible for the mobilization and distribution of oxygen and needed nutrients to the tissues that need them. Consequently, waste materials that are by-products of cellular processes are carried by the bloodstream in preparation for excretion out of the body.

In the cardiovascular system, there lies an intricate network of arteries, veins, and capillaries. Arteries bring blood from the heart to the organs that need oxygen, while veins return the blood back to the heart. The smallest blood vessels are called capillaries, and these are where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide, which is breathed out of the body. The pumping motion of the heart drives the blood to move through the body systems.

Because the heart facilitates the flow of the blood and the life-giving materials throughout the body, taking care of it should be a prime consideration, no matter what age the person is. The heart is about the size of person’s closed fist, and is composed of specialized kinds of muscle cells that twitch automatically and perpetually, without the conscious control of the brain. Within the chambers of the heart, oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and deoxygenated blood from the veins pass through.

In order for a person to be called physically fit, he or she should possess a considerable amount of cardiovascular endurance. This refers to the ability of the heart and lungs to keep going under rigorous conditions, such as strenuous physical activity. Cardiovascular endurance can be measured by the amount of effort the body can do without feeling immense strain on the respiratory and circulatory systems.

How can one maintain the health of the heart and the cardiovascular system? The observance of a balanced diet is always a reminder given by medical professionals. Food that is rich in lipids like cholesterol are not always immediately broken down by the digestive system, hence they remain as deposits within the walls of blood vessels. Cholesterol impedes the normal passage of blood, causing high blood pressure and other heart ailments. Keeping away from vices such as cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and dangerous drugs help protect the heart and the stability of the respiratory system.

As mentioned before, cardiovascular endurance contributes to the overall physical fitness of an individual. This can be improved by performing regular exercise routines, even for a few minutes per day. Do activities that keep the heart pumping and the blood flowing. In return, the heart and lungs become more resilient to strain and fatigue.

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