Cardiovascular Diseases and Muscle Strengthening Exercises
The cardiovascular system consists of the blood vessels, heart and around 5 liters of blood that these blood vessels transport. The Cardiovascular system is responsible for transporting hormones, nutrients, oxygen and cellular waste products throughout the body. It is powered by the heart which is an involuntary muscle and the hardest working organ of the body.
What is cardiovascular disease?
The definition of cardiovascular disease or CVD is a group of disorders of the blood vessels and the heart. Generally, cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that involve blocked or narrowed blood vessels which can lead to chest pain, stroke or a heart attack. Other heart conditions like those which affect the heart’s valves, rhythm’s or muscles are also considered forms of heart diseases.
Many of these heart diseases can easily be treated or even prevented if people switch to healthy lifestyle choices.
The following are the main types of cardiovascular diseases:
- Coronary heart disease – occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is reduced or blocked by a build-up of fatty material (atheroma) in the coronary arteries.
- Stroke – occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
- Aortic disease – The most common is an aortic aneurysm in which the walls of the aorta become weak and bulge outwards. People suffering from it usually experience pain in their back, chest or abdomen.
- Peripheral arterial disease – occurs when there is a blockage in the arteries to your limbs (usually your legs). Peripheral arterial disease is also known as peripheral vascular disease.
Cardiovascular (heart) surgery is surgery on the heart or the great vessels and is performed by cardiac surgeons. Often it is done to treat complications of ischemic heart disease.
What are cardiovascular risk factors?
Below are some of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases:
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- high blood cholesterol
- lack of exercise
- ethnic background
- being overweight
- family history of heart disease
Most of the risk factors mentioned above are linked. This means that if a person has one risk factor, it is very likely that they will have others as well.
It is extremely important to walk and run to keep the body, lungs and heart in good shape. It is also important to do yoga so your muscles stretch and become flexible. But it is also extremely important to do regular muscle strengthening exercises. These exercises help strengthen the muscles that support knees, chest, back, wrist and shoulders. Besides regular full body exercises, hand strengthening exercises must also be done to improve the strength of the hands and wrist muscles. They should be done as warm-up exercises before the regular body exercises. Regular exercise help rid of muscle aches that results from the strain of the hectic work routine.
Kegel Exercises which are also known as pelvic floor exercises are important and should be part of the regular routine. They consist of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor which are now referred to as the keygel muscles.
Keygel exercises for women are really good especially for those who are pregnant and after childbirth. Childbirth stretches and weakens pelvic floor muscles and can cause urine control problems. It can also allow pelvic organs to sag. Uterine prolapsed is a problem that occurs when the uterus sags. All these problems can be prevented with regular keygel exercises.