“Cardiovascular health is defined by your capacity to exert yourself,” says Nicole Belkin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center. “Regular physical activity trains the cardiovascular system to expand the level of demand and increase its capacity. This results in increased blood flow and blood volume to the heart.”
All that oxygen being pumped by the blood is important. You may be familiar with the term "oxygen consumption." In science, it's labeled VO2, or volume of oxygen consumed. It's the amount of oxygen the muscles extract, or consume from the blood, and it's expressed as ml/kg/minute (milliliters per kilogram of body weight). Muscles are like engines that run on fuel (just like an automobile that runs on fuel); only our muscles use fat and carbohydrates instead of gasoline. Oxygen is a key player because, once inside the muscle, it's used to burn fat and carbohydrate for fuel to keep our engines running. The more efficient our muscles are at consuming oxygen, the more fuel we can burn, the more fit we are, and the longer we can exercise.
The question of BP lowering with aerobic exercise in type 2 diabetics has been studied. In the Early Activity in Type 2 Diabetes (ACTID) trial, 593 newly diagnosed diabetics were randomized to use of a pedometer in a program that included intense counseling or standard or intense dietary advice.46 There was no difference in SBP or DBP after 6 or 12 months, even though the participants using pedometers increased their steps by 17% on average. Whether the exercise was merely of too low a “dose” to be effective is unclear. There may be some male-female differences in BP response to aerobic exercise, with women exhibiting BP lowering with resistance compared with aerobic exercise and men responding similarly to both types of exercise.47 The 2013 AHA Scientific Statement recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per day most days of the week.2 The authors assigned dynamic aerobic exercise a Class I, level of evidence A recommendation in those for whom it is not contraindicated. Our review of the evidence since 2013, as well as that from another group, confirm these recommendations.41,48 Whether or not high versus moderate (or interval) intensity training is optimal for BP-lowering as well as other aspects of the dose-response effect (i.e., ideal duration of cumulative exercise per week) and the potential impact of different types of aerobic activity requires further investigation.
The statistics are impressive: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20% to 40%. One of the most cited studies on walking and health, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002, found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly. "The physical benefits of walking are well documented," says Scott Danberg, director of fitness at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa in Miami. With impressive results like these, there's a good chance you'll get a pat on the back from your doc at your next checkup.
Sticking to a new fitness routine can be tough and sometimes you may be tempted to skip your workouts. While that’s completely normal, it can help you stay on track if you can easily remind yourself why you wanted to get in shape in the first place. Maybe you want to be able to keep up with your kids without getting out of breath, or perhaps you want to lower your cholesterol. Whatever it is that motivates you, write it down somewhere safe—like your phone. This way you can refer back to it when you need some extra motivation.
As with walking, jogging is an activity that is relatively simple to do without spending a lot of money. However, it is important to purchase a pair of good running shoes that fit comfortably and properly. Stick to loose fitting and lightweight clothes that allow your body to breathe and move easily. Jogging is a vigorous activity, so if you are new to jogging you may want to begin by walking for three or four minutes and then jogging for one. As you get stronger, you can begin to increase the lengths of the jogging intervals.
Figure 79(A)–(C) summarize the significance of the three aerobic processes. In the growth pathway (Figure 79A), the substrate is processed by an oxygenase that uses NAD(P)H and forms NAD(P)+, while the intermediate is processed by a reductase that reduces NAD(P)+ to NAD(P)H. This regeneration of NAD(P)H generates sufficient energy and precursors to sustain growth. In the nongrowth process (Figure 79B), the initial processing of the nongrowth substrate may generate dead-end products (not degraded by the bacterial populations) that may have adverse (toxic) effects. When a soil sample contains both growth and nongrowth substrates (Figure 79C), they compete for the enzyme, resulting in degradation of the nongrowth substrate. This strategy is commonly used in bioremediation processes.
Knowing a bit about the health benefits of walking can also help you stay on track. Not only can walking benefit your heart, bones, and joints, it can also prolong your life. In a 10-year study of 650,000 adults over 40, those who got 75 minutes of moderate activity, like walking, weekly, lived on average, nearly two years longer than their sedentary counterparts. Walkers who logged just over an hour a day gained four and a half years!
A recent randomized crossover trial of lower-intensity or high-intensity exercise showed decreases in clinical SBP with both types of exercise. However, there was no decrease in mean day or nighttime ambulatory BP with either form of exercise.42 Aerobic interval training (AIT) combines episodes of high-intensity with episodes of low-intensity aerobic exercise. At least two randomized studies have suggested an advantage of AIT over continuous aerobic exercise.43,44 Some patients, of course, have limited ability to use their legs, and upper extremity aerobic exercise also has been shown to lower BP.45
1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.
It can be started slowly (try using a treadmill to moderate your pace) and built up as you feel comfortable. It will help open your airways and make breathing a bit smoother. It will strengthen your lungs and help improve on your breathing and reduce your asthma symptoms. Asthma patients' lungs are more sensitive to cold air or hot air and pollen and other things from the atmosphere.
The same goes for intensity, too: Hiking or climbing stairs can actually bring your walking METs burn up to running levels. “Greater muscle forces are required to move faster to accelerate the body up and down, move the limbs faster, and work against gravity,” says Hunter. “Running or walking uphill requires a greater energy, just like lifting weights upwards. It’s as if our body is the weight that we must move to greater heights, so the greater the slope, the greater the energy requirement.”
You need hand-eye coordination to punch a pad or punching bag so it may be trickier than you think — but you’ll soon improve with regular practice. You won’t get a black eye because there’s no combat involved, but there’s a risk of injury to hands and wrists if you’re punching a pad or punching bag. Many gyms provide boxing mitts, however you’ll need to bring your own cotton gloves to wear inside.
Fidgeting could increase your calorie burn and speed up your weight loss. In 1986, researchers for the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that fidgeting was a large contributor to daily calorie burn. In fact, this type of movement resulted in a calorie burn ranging from 100 to 800 calories per day! Tap your foot to the music on the radio while sitting in the office, or get up and walk back and forth while talking on the phone.