Cardiovascular health is often a blanket term used to describe a primary benefit for many kinds of exercise and activities that promise body-friendly, healthful results. But what is cardiovascular health, and how does it relate to swimming? And how can a reasonable investment in an above ground swimming pool also be an investment in long-term cardiovascular health?
First off, when you think “cardiovascular”, think heart…and veins. Activities that increase your heart rate (the number of beats per minute over time) will, by default, increase the amount of blood that is pumped through your veins. Since red blood cells are the transport system for life-giving oxygen, as you raise your heart rate, more oxygen reaches your body’s muscles and tissues.
“Cardiovascular health” therefore, is a goal rather than a description; when the heart muscle gets good exercise, blood circulation throughout the body is improved. Repeated exercise (coupled with the advice of a qualified health professional) can lead to a healthier circulatory system, and healthier body in general.
According to the American Heart Association, the goal of cardiovascular health can help:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Keep weight under control
- Improve blood cholesterol levels
- Prevent and manage high blood pressure
- Prevent bone loss
- Boost energy level and help manage stress
- Improve the ability to fall asleep quickly and self-image
- Increase muscle strength, increasing the ability to do other physical activities
- In older people, helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging
Swimming is a uniquely beneficial activity for cardiovascular health because it provides a low-impact environment that exercises virtually every muscle in the body. Our body’s natural buoyancy allows us to weight about 1/10th of our actual body weight in water-meaning less stress on joints while swimming. What’s more, the virtual absence of gravity allows the heart and circulatory system to work even better.
Since swimming pool water provides mild resistance in every direction we move, every muscle group is put into play-exercised-whether you are swimming laps, treading water, jogging, doing water aerobics or even just horsing around.