The Role Of Physical Activity On The Cardiovascular System And Skeletal Muscles

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Everyday human life has markedly changed when comparing it to that of a century ago. People are choosing to pursue sedentary activities over active endeavours such as team sports due to leading busier lives and having a lack of energy. Socio-economic, organisational, communication, cultural and gender barriers are also contributing factors.

While there are many studies on the positive effects of physical activity on the cardiovascular system and skeletal muscles; including improvements in cardiovascular function, an increase in metabolism, an increase in muscle size and strength, protection of bones and articular joints, and prevention of osteoporosis and arthritis; the effect of extended bed rest and a sedentary lifestyle needs to be explored further.

Participating in regular aerobic exercise practices has been proven to enhance cardiovascular activity. This is tangible not only in persons who are in good physical shape and do not exhibit any underlying risk factors (Clarkson, Montgomery, Mullen, 1999), but also in older people (Benjamin, Larson, Keyes, 2004), and those with cardiovascular risk factors.

Physiological responses to exercise are dependent on the intensity, duration and frequency of the exercise as well as environmental conditions (Burton, Stokes, Hall, 2004). When participating in physical exercise activities, requirements for oxygen in skeletal muscle is increased, as are the removal of metabolites and carbon dioxide. Chemical, mechanical
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