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HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES

Cardio Interval Training

Among the highest risk factors are being a male, over age 35, with a history of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high levels of certain blood fats, and a family history of cardiovascular disorders.

Other researchers have added to this list another risk factor: the compulsive, hard-driving, highly anxious personality, sometimes labeled Type A. The greater the number of severity, the greater the person’s overall risk of health problems.

These threats to the heart can be divided into two main categories: those beyond individual control, such as age, gender, and heredity, or those that can be controlled, avoided, and even eliminated, including behaviors and lifestyle choices. Among options in the behavior and lifestyle choices category are what cardiologists call “the triple threat.” These are having high blood pressure, smoking cigarettes, and having high cholesterol levels in the blood.

If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, your risk of having a heart attack is twice that of a nonsmoker. If you smoke, have hypertension, and eat a diet high in fats without any exercise at all, your risk is five times greater than normal.

The Healthy Heart

If these risk factors endanger the heart’s health, what enhances its well-being and improves its odds of working long and well?

Obviously, quitting cigarettes and eating a low-fat diet will help. The next best thing you can do for your heart’s sake is to give it what it needs: regular exercise or a complete program including cardio interval training.

The heart is a muscle, or more accurately, a group or “package” of muscles, similar in many ways to the muscles of the arms and legs. And just as exercise strengthens and improves limb muscles, it enhances the health of the heart muscles as well.

Since World War II, several large-scale statistical studies have evaluated the relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular disease. One well-known survey compared 31,000 drivers and conductors of some bus companies. The more sedentary drivers had a significantly higher rate of heart disease than the conductors, who walked around the buses and climbed stairs to the upper level.

The why and how behind these statistics were best explained by classic experiments with dogs whose coronary arteries were surgically narrowed to resemble those of humans with arteriosclerosis. Dogs who were exercised had much better blood flow than those who were kept inactive.

Exercise seemed to stimulate the development of new connections between the impaired and the nearly normal blood vessels, so exercised dogs had better blood supply to all the muscle tissues of the heart. The human heart reacts in the same way to provide increased blood flow to heart muscles damaged by heart attack.

To enable the damaged heart muscle to heal, the heart relies on new small blood vessels for what is called collateral circulation. These new branches on the arterial tress can develop long before a heart attack — and can prevent a heart attack if the new network takes on enough of the function of the narrowed vessels.

With these facts, it all comes down to a single question: What should be done in order to prevent heart problems?

Some studies showed that moderate exercise several times a week is more effective in building these auxiliary pathways than extremely vigorous exercise done twice often.

The general rule is that exercise helps to reduce the risk of harm to the heart. Some researches further attest the link between exercise and a healthy heart is based on findings that non-exercisers had a 49% greater risk of heart attack than the other people included in the study. The study attributed a third of that risk to sedentary lifestyle alone.

Therefore, by cardio interval training, you can absolutely expect positive results not only in areas that concern your cardiovascular health, but also on the overall status of your health.

Within cardio interval training, performing cycles of “repeated segments”, meaning performing several higher-effort intervals with lower-effort activity in between, is particularly helpful for the heart. In this process, there are periods of strenuous cardiovascular activity followed by periods of less vigorous exercise, allowing the heart and body to partially recuperate. 

Engaging in this kind of cardiovascular activity can bring you more results that you have ever expected. These are:

1. The threats of heart attack are lessened, if not eliminated

2. Enhanced heart muscle endurance

3. Increased metabolism, which improves calorie burning for weight loss

4. Improved lung capacity

5. Helps lessen or eliminate the effects of stress

Cardio interval training is a proven way of creating a healthy, happy heart and body.

In a long-term study of the health of the people of in the United States, the U.S. Public Health Service documented the chances of developing heart disease among various groups in the population. Long before any symptoms appeared, researchers could identify high-risk groups.

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